Red Cloud High School students win the 2012 Lakota Language Bowl at LNI

posted on December 20, 2012,
by Christopher Ives

Students from Red Cloud High School won the Lakota Language Bowl on Wednesday, December 19th during this year’s Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City, SD. The event, which tested team’s knowledge and use of the Lakota language, covered topics such as: The environment, ceremonial terms, biology, and sentence structure.

The team’s coach, Philomine Lakota, is a Lakota language teacher at Red Cloud Indian School. She prepared her team for this competition during her regular class periods with the students.

“We all want to learn; we are all interested in the culture and language,” says Savannah Jenson, a member of the winning team. Jensen explains that their teacher encourages the use of the language outside the classroom, and working with each other to practice. “We often greet each other in Lakota when walking through the hallways,” Jensen continues. Whether they are talking about food, friends, or how they feel that day, “…we just talk; it’s really fun and we’ll continue to do it.”

When asked what Jensen and the rest of the team could attribute to the win, their answer was unanimous: Philomine Lakota.

Jensen and some of her teammates were also chosen to meet with with U.S. Secretary of Health an Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius during her visit to Red Cloud Indian School this August. Jensen spoke in English and Lakota to the Secretary about identity and its connection to her culture. Secretary Sebelius later reported to President Obama during the White House Tribal Nations Conference, highlighting Red Cloud Indian School as a leader in the preservation and promotion of the Lakota language.

Congratulations to Bianca Spotted Thunder, Carrie Beard, Kirklama Ross, Gabriella Rodriguez, Colton Sierra, William Belt, Caine Ghost Bear, Savaannah Jensen and Coach Lakota on the win!