Red Cloud Students Prepare for Lakota Language Bowl,
Inspired After Last Year's Win

posted on October 24, 2013

With bright smiles on their faces, Red Cloud Indian School students stood proudly before the press after winning the exciting final round of the Lakota Language Bowl during last year’s Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City.

The Lakota Nation Invitational began as an annual high school basketball event in the late 1970’s in response to a lack of venues for Native students to compete outside of their districts and reservations. The event has grown significantly, and today it brings thousands of people from across western South Dakota to Rapid City for four days of sports and cultural events.

For more than 20 years, the Lakota Language Bowl has encouraged youth to learn and preserve their Native languages through a series of surprisingly intense, head-to-head language competitions.

“Students look forward to the Lakota Language Bowl,” says high school Lakota language teacher Philomine Lakota. “The competition is a major motivation for students to show their peers what they’ve learned.”

Philomine has been involved with the competition in some form from its start and recently teamed up with former Red Cloud teacher Peter Hill to organize and improve the event by standardizing the orthography, or alphabet, used in the competition.

For Philomine, the event is more than just a competition. It’s an opportunity to promote the language and the culture.

“To be included at LNI is a great acknowledgement of our culture and language and how important it is,” says Philomine. “This is all about Lakota. It is really a small gathering of Lakota speakers—of student speakers—and I think that it inspires students from across the reservations to see this happening.”

Students like those in Philomine’s Lakota 4 class—the newest language class at Red Cloud that serves as the cornerstone of the school’s comprehensive K-12 Lakota Language curriculum—are given a 20 page vocabulary pack (which can be viewed below) with lists of important Lakota words representing colors, food, culture, ceremonies and more.

“We don’t require a student to learn the entire packet,” says Philomine. “We tell them to mark off the ones that they know, then look at the ones you don’t know—and study the topics that interest you most!”

“I really think that all students at every school should be involved,” Philomine continues. She is quick to point out that students from all grades and levels are participating and that it is both fun and a great way to practice the language with friends.

“Winning gives the students a sense of accomplishment, and losing inspires them to learn some more,” says Philomine.

The Vocabulary Packet along with all necessary information for any school to participate in this year’s Lakota Language Bowl can be found below.

Click on the links below to dowload the corresponding documents.


Registration Form


Lakota Language Bowl Rules


Letter to Participants

2013 Vocabulary Packet