The Crow Nation of Montana has begun a new phase of its language revitalization effort, with the publication of the Level 1 Biiluukaalilaah! Speak Crow! textbook, in partnership with the Language Conservancy. This is the first of a projected K-12 sequenced curriculum inthe Apsáalooke (Crow) language, and will be available to individual learners as well as to the Crow Education Department’s schools around their region.
The Biiluukaalilaah! Speak Crow! curriculum is built upon a second-language education template – arranged in structured units for lessons, activities and quizzes — which has proven successful for the Lakota (“Sioux”) language. Eight Crow language teachers from the tribe’s school systems attended the Lakota Summer Institute, a teacher-training event for the Lakota language at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, ND (Standing Rock Indian Reservation), to get an introduction to the curriculum and the methods used for teaching it.
LSI Lakota instructor Junior Garcia, of the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, coached the teachers in the Total Physical Response second-language methods that have proved so effective in Lakota classrooms. Dr. John Boyle, Executive Director of the Apsáalooke Language Curriculum Project for the Crow, called the LLC teaching methods “cutting edge,” and said that the LLC system coordinating textbooks, dictionary and teaching methodology creates “an incredible backbone” for teaching Native American languages.