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Auntie and Me: A Story About Native Languages

iknowmine staff - Wednesday, December 11, 2013
lastrealindians:
“ The Gift of Lakȟotiyapi, By Waniya Locke
My mother is from the heart of Copper River Valley of Alaska. She moved to Standing Rock Reservation after meeting my father. They were a young couple with two small children. My mother...

lastrealindians:

The Gift of Lakȟotiyapi, By Waniya Locke

My mother is from the heart of Copper River Valley of Alaska. She moved to Standing Rock Reservation after meeting my father. They were a young couple with two small children. My mother befriended a woman named Marge Edwards (Shoots the Enemy). This bond formed over the years creating a Huŋka (adoption); the younger generations thought my mother was a Lakota. Marge took us as her own, always up-holding kinship and love for us at all times.

In 2011 Lakota Language Action Education Program (LLEAP) was created. I applied for this program because I enjoyed learning our language. This path I embarked on was a path of enlightenment. I had a broken spirit, but with each word and sentence structure I learned, my spirit mended. Marge’s first language was Lakota; she obtained a teaching degree and was one of the first Lakota Language teachers on Standing Rock. She was my biggest supporter. Not only was she my aunt, but she was also my hardest teacher. She was my personal dictionary. In the beginning years of LLEAP, I would call her regularly for words, translations, and corrections or to have her hear me speak. As I progressed through my first semester of LLEAP, I felt invincible! I would call my aunt every other day just to share what I had learned.

As Thanksgiving break was approaching, another family member informed me that my aunt was sick. I called my mother to confirm the news. I finished my first semester and returned home as quickly as possible.  Upon returning home, my aunt and I were up late making frybread. It was a quiet night as we cooked. I finally asked my Aunt, “Why didn’t you tell me of your condition?” She was quiet for awhile and spoke softly, “Because you and I have work to do! I didn’t want this thing to be in our way. I want our focus to be Lakȟotiyapi and education. So now let’s do some drills.” We did do drills; I had to say as many Lakota Words I knew for her as we finished frying bread.

READ THE REST HERE: http://lastrealindians.com/the-gift-of-lak%c8%9fotiyapi-by-waniya-locke/

Great post by Last Real Indians contributor about the how essential our Native languages are.

(via lastrealindians-deactivated2015)

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