March 30, 2009

Dakotah children's books and Scrabble

AAIA program saving endangered Native languages with translated children’s booksWhen elder Orsen Bernard sang to children in the Dakotah language, DeCoteau saw the need for teaching materials in Dakotah. “We realized that no matter how much you spoke in the language, everything else was in English. Every book, every song, every movie was in English. So we started creating materials to view in the language programs and schools.”

Although the program is in its infancy, in just a few years time, DeCoteau’s efforts have led to the creation of more than 60 children’s books, videos and CD’s in the Dakotah language. The program also created a Dakotah language Scrabble game, a rap CD, computer applications and a theatrical play.

DeCoteau also noted that other tribes wanting Scrabble in their Native languages could have them created. “We talked with the people at Hasbro and they said they would be happy to work with the AAIA to create them.”

Her unique and contemporary techniques for teaching Native languages are creating such positive results that other tribes are beginning to follow suit. She said the process is simple. “It’s all on Microsoft Publisher, we send the tribe the disc, they just delete the Dakotah language, add theirs and then print it out.”

1 comment:

Jodi said...

Love the pictographs site. I will post a link on my site.