October 19, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Yuliya Manyakina, Wichakini Owayawa Project Director, Lakhol’iyapi
Wahohpi/Wichakini Owayawa at Sitting Bull College,
Yuliya.Manyakina@sitingbull.edu , 701-854-8056
Koreen Ressler, Vice President of Operations, Sitting Bull College
Koreen.Ressler@sittingbull.edu , 701-854-8001
Wichakini Owayawa at Sitting Bull College Awarded $1.5 Million Department of Education Grant
FORT YATES, ND – The Wichakini Owayawa (“New Life for the People School”) Dakota/Lakota immersion school at Sitting Bull College has been awarded a five-year $1.5 million grant under the Native American and Alaska Native Children in School (NAM) program from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition. The goal of the NAM program is to “support the teaching, learning, and studying of Native American languages while also increasing the English language proficiency and academic achievement of students served”. This is Wichakini Owayawa’s first grant from the Department of Education.
To date, students at the Wichakini Owayawa have received their education in 100% D/Lakota. The award, titled “Makhasitomni Nunpakiye Manipi – They Walk in Two Worlds”, will support Wichakini Owayawa’s expansion to grades 4-8, giving new and existing students the opportunity to continue in their progress toward high-level, age appropriate language proficiency in D/Lakota, while also receiving English reading and writing instruction.
The program aims to serve 30 students ages 5-14 who will attain academic proficiency in both languages. Families will also receive support for home literacy practices, including recommended reading in D/Lakota and English as well as English Language Learner (ELL) training with school instructors.
The Wichakini Owayawa will continue revitalizing the D/Lakota language, while promoting bilingualism and biliteracy. “We are losing the Lakota language, but we still have some fluent speakers. This grant will help bring our parents and fluent speakers together to continue saving our language. The word Wicháyukini means ‘waking them up’. That time is now,” says Michael Kills Pretty Enemy Sr., fluent speaker and teacher at the Wichakini Owayawa.
Wichakini Owayawa is a K-4 Dakota/Lakota immersion school, located on the main campus of Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, ND. The school started as the Lakhol’iyapi Wahohpi (“Lakota Language Nest”) immersion preschool program in 2012, and has since grown to include grades K-3 with support from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA). The school’s vision is “Fluent speakers, sovereign thinkers”.
To learn more about the school visit http://www.wotakuye.weebly.com