A KOTA Territory daycare is stepping out of a world dominated by the English language, into one dominated by Lakota.
Lakota Language Immersion Childcare is a growing program where children under the age of two are enrolled in a daycare center where they are only spoken to in Lakota.
Peter Hill, founder of the program, says the reason he wanted to develop the daycare was a way to immerse children in the Lakota Language before they only learn English. "The situation that we have here is called a 'language island,' said Hill. "So we're trying to have within the hours of the program, within the physical building only Lakota, no English."
Children are surrounded by Lakota conversation, which they here and retain, but they are also being taught target vocabulary lists and phrases.
Blue Dawn Little, a mother, says it's important to her that her son learns Lakota. "Knowing our language and being able to speak fluently is one of the best things we can do for our children," said Little.
But more than just kids are learning Lakota - parents are learning from their kids. "What did he say? So I have to remember like he's got phrases too that he'll say to me so I have to think okay Lakota-English," said Nakina Mills, another mother. "It's amazing I get to do this with him."
Hill says the plan is to add five new children every year. This expansion is made possible through grants and donations. Visit there website here: http://lakotalearners.com/ to learn more about the program or to donate.