TLC understands that it is difficult for learners to commit to the cost, travel, and the time that the Summer Institute demands. The Lakota Language Weekend (LLW) was conceived as a way to serve people who are interested in learning the Lakota language but do not have the time or the funds to attend the Summer Institute. These Lakota Language Weekends feature workshops from some of the nation’s best Lakota teachers. Lakota learners at the Language Weekends are also given a chance to meet people who share an interest in Lakota language and culture, and to feel empowered and inspired by the Lakota language movement.
TLC held the first Lakota Language Weekend event in September 2015 at Pine Ridge Reservation. This event offered learning strategies for all levels, and featured 3 parallel learning tracks, for beginner, intermediate, and fluent speakers. The event was so successful that we have expanded the event to include Fort Yates, Bismarck, and Rapid City as well as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and Minneapolis. We plan to host a future LLW in Washington, DC.
We discovered that there is a great pent-up demand for learning Lakota in cities, but there are not many opportunities to meet this desire. The struggle to learn the Lakota language is real, particularly for those Native Americans living in urban environments who do not have access to the language resources often available in reservation communities. These weekends offer an accessible, easy, low-pressure way to learn the language without requiring a large commitment of time. TLC’s Lakota Language Weekends appeal to an entire generation of Lakota youth that are excited and energized to learn Lakota, but for various reasons have missed out of learning the language in a substantive way.
TLC intends to create language weekends for other Native Languages in the future.