Grotto Foundation Grants $25,000 to Revitalize Lakota Language in Early Childhood

Feb 17, 2016 | Blog

 

Grotto Foundation Grants $25,000 to Revitalize Lakota Language in Early Childhood

February 17, 2016

Sitting Bull College outside of Ft. Yates, North Dakota

Sitting Bull College outside of Ft. Yates, North Dakota

By the next century, nearly half of the roughly 6,000 languages spoken on Earth will disappear, according to estimates by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Of those languages, in North America 54 Native American languages are already extinct and another 137 are in various degree of being endangered. Yet the positive benefits of speaking one’s native language include better academic performance, self-identity, mental and physical health, and more.

The American Indian College Fund, the largest American Indian education non-profit in the country, is committed to language and cultural preservation in the Native communities it serves. The College Fund has received a $25,000 grant from the Grotto Foundation to work to preserve the Lakota language and culture through an early childhood education project at a tribal college. Sitting Bull College, serving the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, launched the project in January 2016, which provides programming and services to approximately 30 families.

This innovative program is developing a scope and sequence of pre-Kindergarten language immersion curriculum, and is designed to improve family engagement strategies in language learning, create an early learning language assessment system, and strengthen the instructional knowledge and skills of Lakota immersion language teachers. The program focuses on early learners and will build on a year-long collaboration to create and launch a long-term, sustainable plan for Lakota language and culture revitalization.

Sonja Moore, Executive Director of Grotto Foundation, said, “Grotto Foundation is pleased to support this important project which will help to preserve and revitalize the Lakota language at Standing Rock Reservation. Immersion programs have shown to be quite successful, especially when used with young children. We believe the immersion program, in addition to programming aimed at strengthening the skills of the immersion language teachers, will have a positive impact on language and culture preservation at Sitting Bull College.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “We are deeply appreciative of the commitment of the Grotto Foundation to the restoration of indigenous languages, especially as recent educational research confirms that Native language acquisition and cultural knowledge improves the well-being of children and increases their educational attainment. The children who benefit from this generous gift are the future leaders of their tribes.”

Download the press release here (155 KB)

Recent Blog Posts

American Indian College Fund Develops Transfer Data Guidebook for TCUs

American Indian College Fund Develops Transfer Data Guidebook for TCUs

The American Indian College Fund (College Fund) has published a “Transfer Data Guidebook for Tribal Colleges and Universities.” The guidebook is the culmination of three years of research conducted under a $625,000 grant from the Educational Credit Management Corporation, which examined the transfer landscape of the seven Montana tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to improve student achievement by creating a cohesive transfer system.

American Indian College Fund Partners with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies to Enhance Native Arts Programs

American Indian College Fund Partners with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies to Enhance Native Arts Programs

The American Indian College Fund (College Fund) announced new efforts to enhance Native arts curriculum development programs at six tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Each of the participating TCUs will receive $100,000 to enrich their curricula by integrating Indigenous education values and incorporate Native knowledge, language, and cultural practices. The project will also help to expand institutional capacity, developing or revising academic courses, minors, and certificate and degree programs.