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LNI Incorporates Lakota Language Competition


More than 150 kids, coaches and parents met at the Rushmore Civic Center Wednesday morning for the Lakota Language Bowl. The competition is part of he annual Lakota Nation Invitational.  It includes students from kindergarten through high school speaking Lakota and Dakota.

The first contest of the day features videos of students from different schools speaking Lakota and Dakota. There are 41 teams this year from all over the state, and some from North Dakota. 

Kellee Brewer is the Lakota Nation Invitational Language Bowl Coordinator.

“The kids come together, and they have four different competitions that they have to compete in. They will do speed vocabulary. They will do a traditional demonstration. They will do a traditional song as a team and then of course they will be doing the media through technology. So they all produce a video. And then the high school they do a thematic word more. They’re speaking to each other for points.”

Brewer says the average age of Lakota speakers is 72 years old so the language is at risk of dying out. She says incorporating the language into school programs and getting kids excited about competitions like these is a crucial step to saving it. 

Seven year old Amos has been practicing for the Language Bowl. He’s in second grade and has been speaking Lakota since he was one. He’s looking forward to performing a story about Spiders and Ducks.

Amos says one phrase stands out to him the most.

“My favorite part is where he says he’s carrying some songs.”

The LNI language bowl involves students in all grades.