Dakota Language Is Up and Running!

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The Dakota Language Society – better known as Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye (or DIO) – has let us know that their first Textbook, first Audio CD and first set of Posters are doing “tons” of pre-orders at their new web site store!

The DIO’s web site has information on the status of the Dakota language, including history of the written language, which originated with missionaries who believed that literacy was the key to Christianity. “In the 19th century Dakota people became literate in their language and wrote letters to each other,” this section tells. “Two Dakota newspapers were published in the Dakota language, along with readers, the bible, and a hymnal.”

DIO coordinates “Dakota Language Tables” for informal group study around the Twin Cities area. DIO estimates that there are about 28 fluent Dakota speakers left – 8 in Minnesota, and 20 in other states, including South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Montana.

Dakota and Lakota are so closely related, Dakota words and variations are included in both editions of the New Lakota Dictionary.

Language Conservancy Executive Director Wil Meya calls this launch by DIO “an important step because it expands what is already happening for language revitalization in the Plains region – it enlarges the speech community.”

We are proud to have assisted our Dakota friends in their language revitalization work – and we wish them all the best with their new K-12 classroom materials!

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