Háŋ, tóškhe yaúŋ he? (Hahn, DOE-shkay ya-OON hey?)

You may not realize it, but I have just said, “Hello. How are you?” in Lakota. That’s because so few people speak Lakota, including less than 3% of the Lakota community but the Lakota Language Initiative, our current Compassionate Impact Grant beneficiary, is working to change that. Their Lakota Language Immersion Childcare teaches children Lakota as their first language which builds confidence and an increased connection to their culture and identity, key factors in self-esteem and future success.

When I have traveled, I was told to learn a few phrases:

 Hello, my name is: ________________. – Háu (men) / Háŋ (women), ________________ emáčiyapi.

Thank You: Philámayaye

And where is the Bathroom: Otȟáŋkaye kiŋ tuktél úŋ he?

But true respect for a language is fluency, not asking about bathrooms. Young students learn in Lakota, not how to translate items into Lakota.








 wíškate oblótȟuŋ



According to Peter Hill Thunder Valley’s Language Coordinator,  "Lakota isn't just a language we use to talk about the distant past, it is also a language we can use to discuss everything from biology to plate tectonics, everyday life to astrophysics.  It has just as much relevance today as it did a hundred years ago."

The new Lakota website, Woihanble.com, from the Lakota word for dream (wóihaŋble), is a resource for learners and interest in Lakota language and is there to exist for all current and future fluent speakers

If you are looking for a few smaller phrases you may be interested in the Akta Lakota Museum Cultural Center website which offers a number of more familiar phrases.  Try them!

Čhaŋté waštéya napé čhiyúzapi (Chahn-TEH wash-TAY-ah nah-PEH chee-YOO-zah-pee) means "I shake your hands with a good heart." 

Preserving language is vital to preserving culture and Thunder Valley has done impressive work in creating first-language learners as well as giving older speakers a way to continue to use their skills. FBB is proud to support the Lakota Language Initiative.

*Some helpful Lakota resources you may be interested in include The Lakota Dictionary Online and Thunder Valley's Lakota Language page.