Lakota Sioux fight to keep their culture alive (includes video story)

The Lakota Sioux are Native American people historically known as warrior horsemen of the Northern plains including North and South Dakota. However, their language is dying. There are only a few thousand people able to speak it.

Alex Firethunder, the deputy director of the Lakota language consortium, is spreading knowledge of the language to newer generations. The last generation of Lakota speakers are now in their 70s, and the language has not been passed down to the next generation since the mid-1950s. He is worried if not enough information about the Lakota history and language is spread, the Lakota culture will not survive.

“So much was lost. And just doing my little part, to reconnect. When I was a young child, my mother was killed. I lost all connections to my relatives, to my family,” said Deanna Guerra, a Lakota descendant who is learning to speak her native language.

Lakota is one of only eight Native American languages that are spoken by more than 5000 people. The goal is to spread knowledge of the language to as many people as possible and to carry on the tradition for future generations.

Katherine Miranda is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism with a music business certificate and dance minor. After graduation she hopes to land a job at a radio station as an art and entertainment journalist.