Cultivating Lakota

Early Childhood Learning Opportunities

About The Program

The American Indian College Fund supports a Lakota language and culture revitalization project,Cultivating Lakota Early Childhood Learning Opportunities. Partnering with Sitting Bull College the project seeks to develop a scope and sequence of a pre-K Lakota immersion language curriculum, improve family engagement strategies, create an early learning language immersion assessment system, and strengthen the knowledge and skill of Lakota immersion language teachers. Focusing on early learning contexts, this project is envisioned to create long-term, sustainable plan for Lakota language and culture revitalization.

Project Description:

Cultivating Lakota Early Childhood Learning Opportunities is guided by three main objectives:

  • Development of Lakota language immersion curriculum, enriched by family engagement
  • Development of Lakota language immersion assessment aligned with curricular lessons
  • Provide opportunities for teachers to engage in targeted professional development in language learning and development

This funded project will have intentional benefits and sustained impact on the Lakhól’iyapi Wahóhpi families, children and teachers at Sitting Bull College and beyond.

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Tribal College and University Early Childhood Education Initiatives: Strengthening Systems of Care and Learning with Native Communities from Birth to Career.

TCU Early Childhood Education Initiatives

For the Wisdom of the Children:
Strengthening the Teacher of Color Pipeline

Restorative Teachings Early
Childhood Education Initiative

Cultivating Lakota Early
Childhood Learning Opportunities

Ké’ Early Childhood Education
Family Engagement Initiative

Wakanyeja – Early Childhood
Education Initiative

Our Programs

Early Childhood Education

Connecting TCUs and our earliest learners, we support the creation and development of early childhood education from within Native communities — strengthening Native families’ roles as advocates and partners in their children’s education, and creating collaborations between early learning centers and community partners.

Native Culture and Language Preservation

Strong Native communities are built on tribal languages, cultural knowledge, and traditional arts. With many communities facing the risk of loss of language, culture, and traditional arts, we provide grants and support for communities to restore, sustain, and pass on traditional knowledge.

Environmental Stewardship

The College Fund invests in the TCUs that are engaged in strengthening their environmental science opportunities for students. It provides support for TCUs that are working with Native communities to develop and implement research initiatives and innovative collaborations.

Women's Leadership

By connecting Native women students at TCUs with faculty within their academic disciplines, and providing support for strong mentoring relationships, the College Fund is helping to develop the next generation of Native leadership in early childhood education, environmental science, and traditional Native arts.


Infrastructure involves design, implementation, and sustainability of systems and structures. We support tribal colleges and universities expanding their education offerings for students in this area, with opportunities to create well-designed learning spaces with the appropriate equipment, and to sustain or expand infrastructure.

Student and Institutional Success

We invest in individual students to support their pursuit of a college degree, and we invest in TCUs as the institutions that can provide an intellectual and academic home for students in Native communities.