Indiana University

AISRI Educational Projects

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The Lakota Language Project (LLP) is the collaboration between Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge, SD and the American Indian Studies Research Institute. The goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive K-12 Lakota language curriculum. This curriculum will be designed to teach students to speak, read, and write Lakota and to achieve fluency in the language.


Under the supervision of Superintendent Robert Brave Heart, Red Cloud Indian School received a Grotto Foundation planning grant to assess the current state and effectiveness of its Lakota language program. During the 2007-2008 school year, Red Cloud identified a need for Lakota language materials and a comprehensive curriculum. It was during the Fall of 2007 that Mr. Brave Heart first contacted AISRI about traveling to Red Cloud to meet and discuss the possibility of entering into this partnership. AISRI co-directors, Ray DeMallie and Doug Parks, along with graduate students Nicky Belle and Dave Posthumus, traveled to Pine Ridge in January 2008 to attend planning meetings at Red Cloud.

By the third year of the project, the proposed five year project had already received funding for six years of work. The funding came from various sources: The Administration for Native Americans, Grotto Foundation, Endangered Language Fund, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Hesemeyer Trust, and individual donors. The largest of these grants came from ANA, a federal agency dedicated to funding projects that will benefit Native schools, communities, and cultural preservation.

Currently, grades K-4, 5-8, and High School levels 1-4 are in use in the classrooms at Red Cloud Indian School. As new material is written, it is tested in the classroom, and edits and feedback are collected from students, teachers, key community members, and fluent Lakota speakers. By the end of the sixth year of the project, the editing phase will be complete and the materials will be considered final.

To view screenshots from the materials click on the "view lessons" button on the above right.

Components include:

  • Printed Textbooks for grades K-12. K-4 will be presented in a consumable, workbook format, and 5-12 will be in the traditional textbook format.
  • Interactive texbooks for each of the grade levels. All of the vocabulary and dialogues in the book are being recorded with speakers, so that interactive, electronic books can be used with or without the teachers supervision.
  • Additional multimedia materials are being created to accompany each book. These include multimedia assessments, games, exercises, vocabulary drills, historical sketches, and flash card sets.
  • Dictionaries will accompany each of the curricula. These are divided into K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. These dictionaries will exist in both printed and online, electronic forms.
  • Teacher's manuals will be created for each grade level. This manual is intended to guide the teachers through each lesson, highlighting objectives, guiding instruction, and suggesting additional exercises.
  • Assessment tools that include written tests and quizzes for each lesson and unit in each book, as well as mid-term and final exams for each book. There are also computer based quizzes that have been created to go along with each lesson in the high school material.


Lakota Language Project