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Native languages and TCU technologies

On Thursday, December 15, the anniversary of the tragic and untimely death of Hunkpapa leader, Tatanka Iyotake, Sitting Bull and several of his tribal people in a confrontation with tribal police, the citizens of many Plains tribes gathered in the sacred He Sapa, Black Hills. The night we arrived from the Northwest the cold north wind welcomed us under a starry, clear sky. The hills were dark with night mist and the shadows beckoned us into the past where our ancestors wait, watching our work and how we care for each other. I love to come home to the prairies and hills that are the homelands of my people. We saw two falling stars.
I love to come home during this time of the year, when we are gathered in meetings, greeting each other in passing and watching our young people display their cultural and academic knowledge and athletic skills. Our children and young people are magnificent in their beauty. The Lakota Nation Invitational celebrates 35 years.
On this day, tribal college presidents and staff met to discuss the opportunities that the National Tribal University concept provides for more direct collaboration. Our focus for our meeting was on how we could deliver Native language instruction using distance learning technologies. Among presentations, Little Big Horn College’s creation of key word DVDs with written supplementals in Crow combined with Indian sign language and Sinte Gleska University’s story-telling DVDs with an emphasis on makoce, land. LBHC worked with other tribal colleges including Fort Peck to convert the materials to their languages so the demonstration we saw was in Dakota. Everything we saw is such an impressive use of technologies to teach our languages. We especially appreciate the language teachers who joined us, they are who will teach us our languages, technology is only tools for access.
Creating a shared virtual university complements and supports the efforts of SGU Prsident Lionel Bordeaux to develop a National Tribal University with campuses in the four directions and in the center of Indian Country.
Tatanka Iyotake told us to take care of the Wakanyeja, our children. Our language work honors that.

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