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Wakanyeja Ki Tokeyahci: Lakota School Dedicated to Indigenous Language and Lifeways
Many of us who are settlers now living on Turtle Island or anywhere in the world where colonization has taken place, recognize that ours is a time of truth and reconciliation. Forced assimilation and boarding schools established by the Indian Civilization Act of 1819 deliberately suppressed the use of Indigenous language and culture. We are haunted by histories where government policies, colonizers, missionaries, and the like, aimed to eradicate Indigenous peoples and their way of life, rather than celebrate the sacredness of diversity, our inter-relatedness, and shared values.
Because there are few speakers of the Lakota language under the age of 30, Sage Fast Dog answered his community’s call to create a Lakota Immersion School, Wakanyeja Ki Tokeyahci that would empower youth and revitalize the Lakota way of life. In this episode he shares the journey of reclaiming the Sicangu education system and uplifting Lakota language, culture, and Indigenous identity.
Nowadays, elders are dying; living knowledge keepers, and fluent speakers of Native languages are fewer and fewer, making it incumbent upon us all to ask: what of the future? What will we regret or celebrate 100 years from now? What if Indigenous languages and lifeways are revitalized? What will return if Indigenous languages return? How will society at large change? Would the lands, waters, and all living beings be the better for it? Prophecies augur this time where Indigenous peoples and the youth will lead. The revitalization and continuance of Indigenous languages and the cosmological views embedded in them, are essential for the Ancient Future that looms on the horizon.
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Sage Fast Dog, the Founder and Director of Sicangu Co’s Lakota Immersion School, Wakanyeja Ki Tokeyahci, is a passionate educator dedicated to preserving the Lakota culture and language. Born and raised on the Sicangu Makoce, Sage helped establish the school to address the urgent need for language preservation. Through his unwavering commitment, he has created a vital institution that immerses children in Lakota language and traditions, ensuring their cultural legacy endures.
Carry Kim, Co-Host of EcoJustice Radio. An advocate for ecosystem restoration, indigenous lifeways, and a new humanity born of connection and compassion, she is a long-time volunteer for SoCal350, member of Ecosystem Restoration Camps, and a co-founder of the Soil Sponge Collective, a grassroots community organization dedicated to big and small scale regeneration of Mother Earth.
Podcast Website: http://ecojusticeradio.org/
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Support the Podcast: Patreon https://www.patreon.com/ecojusticeradio
Executive Producer and Intro: Jack Eidt
Hosted by Carry Kim
Engineer and Original Music: Blake Quake Beats
Posted 30 October 2023, Updated 1 December 2023