MONTANA INDIAN LANGUAGE PROGRAM
The Montana Indian Language Program (MILP) demonstrates the State of Montana’s continued commitment to protect American Indian cultural integrity by recognizing that languages (spoken, written, or in sign language form) are vital to the identity of tribal nations and the state. Montana tribal languages are in a time of crisis through the loss of native speakers, writers, and signers. The tribes and the state have resources such as tribal colleges, councils, historic preservation offices, the Montana Historical Society, and culture committees among other resources to preserve and protect Montana tribal languages for this and future generations. These grant funds, contracted to the tribal governments for further distribution for local projects, will support the respective language preservation efforts of each tribal government.
Fort Peck Language & Culture Department Highlights...
In fiscal year 2017, the Fort Peck Language and Culture Department utilized a $186,000 biennial award to build a comprehensive Nakoda and Dakota language program on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Key activities of the award were developing language apps (Yanktonai Vocab Builder and Nakoda Vocab Builder) for both IOS and Android platforms, producing the Dakota and Nakoda Word of the Day with KVCK radio station, recording the re-enactment of the story of Pte San Win (White Buffalo Calf Woman) Creation story, recording elders and community members, developing the www.fortpecklanguagespreservation.com website, hosting weekly Nakoda and Dakota community language immersion classes, undertaking a language preservation strategic planning process which resulted in Dakhota/Nakhoda Iyapi Okhoda Kiciye (Language Protectors of the Dakhota and Nakhoda Language) society to support all language teachers across the Fort Peck Reservation, the hosting summer youth immersion camps with sacred sites and storytelling tour, and participating in Lakota, Dakotan and Nakota language summit and competitions.
In fiscal year 2018, the Fort Peck Language and Culture Department is utilizing $77,500 biennial award which includes the creation of an Ethnobotany medicinal plant guide, recording of 3 CD's (Kahomani, Sundance & Veteran's songs), and the continuation of community and culture classes and summer youth immersion camps.
The department recently held their 3rd Annual Dakota and Nakoda Language Bowl competition at the Wolf Point High School Auditorium. There are three divisions – youth, adult novice and adult advanced. Language teams are made up of four participants and compete for trophies in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th places with ages ranging from 9 years old to 80 years old. This community event draws surrounding reservations like Standing Rock in North Dakota and is one of their biggest collaborative efforts in partnership with their Veterans, drum groups, youth dance group, Elder speaking judges, local media, students ranging from 4th grade to 12th grade, college students, college professors, council members, the local radio station, tribal programs, and the general public.
Participants of the Fort Peck Language Bowl, May 2018
For additional information, please contact staff at (406) 841-2754 by E-mail.