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February 16, 2017 10:07 PM

Hot Springs Students Learning The Lakota Language

Hot Springs, SD

Learning another language can be beneficial. In Hot Springs, one option for students is learning the Lakota language and culture. 

Trestina Connelly is a junior at Hot Springs High School and is currently taking a Lakota 1 class. They are learning Lakota hand games and trying to guess where hidden pieces are.

"It makes me feel happy, like the music just makes me want to dance, and I don't know I tap my foot with the beat, it's awesome," Connelly said.

The Native American Education program started in 2015. Doug Gaulke teaches the class and believes there is a need for this type of education in the school district.

"Nearly 20 percent of our kids now are Native American here, mostly Lakota, so just common sense and reason, why shouldn't we be teaching and offering their language to them while they're growing up here?" Gaulke said.

And they're not just learning the language but also about the Lakota culture.

"We made sure what we did was bring in elders, bring in people that know about all these different things, first hand and grew up in it," Gaulke said.

With a growing need for this type of class, Gaulke is looking forward to the future.

"We do have plans to offer another language class next year, and possibly like a Native American studies class or Lakota activities and culture class or if we can even get more into the history," Gaulke said.

"I would definitely recommend Lakota; it's one of my favorite classes," Connelly said.

Gaulke also says once a month students in his classes go to the elementary school to teach kids how to count from 1 to 10 in Lakota.
  • High School
  • Education
  • Hot Springs, SD
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