The Lakota Language Consortium (LLC, The Consortium) is one of the foremost Native American language organizations in the country. A nonprofit organization made up of Native community leaders, linguists and volunteers, its primary mission is the complete revitalization of the Lakota language, one of only a small handful of Native American languages left that has a significant chance of survival. In operation for four years, LLC’s united vision of Lakota language revitalization has produced the first-ever professionally developed Lakota language materials for elementary school children. Participation of between 5000-8000 Lakota children from over 30 schools across North and South Dakota makes the Consortium the most active language revitalization organization of its kind. LLC trains the teachers, produces the language materials, sponsors community and educational events, and directs other efforts to preserve the unique identity that Lakotas have maintained through their language. This past year, the Linguistic Society of America and SSILA honored the LLC with the Ken Hale Prize, recognizing its outstanding community language work and commitment to language documentation and maintenance.
• to provide every Lakota child with the means to become a speaker of Lakota as a first language within the home, or as a fluent second-language speaker from school;
• to ensure that the language is used every household of the reservation, and that children are raised at an ever-increasing rate as first language speakers;
• a full and vibrant linguistic and literary community that develops in the language through numerous avenues, both in and out of school; and
• to support the Lakota language as it grows in usage and complexity, and remains vital within a range of genres and purposes.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, revitalization, and promotion of the Lakota language, LLC asserts that the language is a unique and valuable living expression of the culture, a linguistic legacy and tradition worth preserving and developing. To achieve this mission, LLC provides a wide range of pedagogical and technical support to help schools and communities save the language. Working within close access to 20,000 Lakota children, we produce needed textbooks, computer-based multimedia materials, classroom visual aids, and provide teacher training to schools. Our curricula are designed to create linguistic proficiency in Lakota among students after five years and fluency after an eight-year sequence of classes. Separate curriculum for Lakota are devised for each grade, pre-school to through college. LLC also works to promote activities in Lakota communities that support the use of the language. We have successfully established a Lakota language radio show, and future plans include language camps, cultural events, and media activities. We also carry out national and international fund raising and public relation campaigns to support the primary activities of the organization, and to promote a wider awareness of the acute problem of Native language loss in North America.