SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Several projects are under way to teach children to speak Lakota at a younger age and hopefully revitalize the American Indian language.
Lakota is spoken primarily by Sioux Native Americans in North and South Dakota. Fewer than 6,000 people speak it fluently, which is less than 14 percent of the Lakota population in the Dakotas. The average age of a Lakota speaker is 60.
An immersion day care targeting children as young as 15 months is set to open on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, while a day care for 3-year-olds has already started on the Standing Rock reservation.
Program organizers hope to immerse children in the language earlier, so they learn Lakota as their first language rather than a second language.