A Intergenerational Fight Over Language in the Lakota Nation : Code Switch Many Lakota people agree: It's imperative to revitalize the Lakota language. But how exactly to do that is a matter of broader debate. Should Lakota be codified and standardized to make learning it easier? Or should the language stay as it always has been, defined by many different ways of writing and speaking? We explore this complex, multi-generational fight that's been unfolding in the Lakota Nation, from Standing Rock to Pine Ridge.

In Lakota Nation, people are asking: Who does a language belong to?

In Lakota Nation, people are asking: Who does a language belong to?

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What's the best way to revitalize a language? In the Lakota Nation, that's very much up for debate. Jackie Lay/NPR hide caption

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Jackie Lay/NPR

What's the best way to revitalize a language? In the Lakota Nation, that's very much up for debate.

Jackie Lay/NPR

Many Lakota people agree: It's imperative to revitalize the Lakota language. But how exactly to do that is a matter of broader debate. Should Lakota be codified and standardized to make learning it easier? Or should the language stay as it always has been, defined by many different ways of writing and speaking? We explore this complex, multi-generational fight that's been unfolding in the Lakota Nation, from Standing Rock to Pine Ridge.

This episode was reported and co-hosted by Christina Cala. It was produced by Xavier Lopez. It was edited by Courtney Stein and Leah Donnella.

Correction March 28, 2024

A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Jan Ulrich and Wilhelm Meya founded and currently run The Language Conservancy. In fact, they did found the organization, but no longer run it.

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