A newly-launched news website is entirely in the Lakota language, according to a news release. Woihanble.com is the product of the Lakota Language Initiative, which is a project of Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation.
The website will contain translated news from Lakota Country Times, a weather forecast and a 'This Day in History' feature.
The site is intended to help both adults and children learn Lakota and to help fluent speakers connect to the language online.
Read the full news release below:
First Ever All-Lakota-Language Website Launches
Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation’s Lakota Language Initiative, is delighted to announce that the are debuting a brand-new website for news, special features, sports, Lakota culture, and more –– and the content is entirely in the Lakota language.
The Lakota Language Initiative has worked hard to create a wide range of Lakota language content for child and adult learners, including a line of Lakota language children’s books, dozens of live-action and animated videos online, and a tremendous amount of language-teaching materials contained on websites and apps. Members of the initiative’s staff have long planned to have a website entirely in Lakota, in order to help disseminate the language and demonstrate its continuing adaptability and relevance in today’s world.
This desire to move the language beyond the classroom began many years ago when both Language Initiative Director Matthew Rama and Language Coordinator Peter Hill worked at Red Cloud Indian School, where they collaborated in translating and adapting basketball terminology into Lakota.
Hill recalls, “Matt had [fellow Lakota language teacher] Philomine Lakota and I translate dozens of basketball drills and coaching commands into Lakota, so that he could use these phrases in practice and on the court as much as possible. It really made a positive impression on the players (and their opponents), and helped increase their self-identity and cultural pride.”
According to Hill and Rama, these gestures helped send a message that the Lakota language is a living, thriving language that is just as valid today as it was in the past.
Now working at Thunder Valley CDC, Hill and Rama have an entire Lakota Language Initiative composed of several programs that all aim to embed the Lakota Language into all aspects of real life. It is this philosophy which motivated Hill and Rama, with the help of a part-time employee who helped design the website, to create Woihanble.com
(wóihaŋble means “dream” in Lakota).
“Nowadays, everyone spends much of their daily life online; visiting websites, reading news, checking the weather, browsing social media, or any number of other activities,” says Rama. But until now, there has never been a site with as much content strictly in Lakota. So in that respect, we are bringing the language to the people in a brand-new way."
Woihanble.com’s main sections include local news, national news, sports, lifestyles, weather, and an events calendar. Other regular features include a “This Day in History”, Story of the Week (this week’s is “Meadowlark and the Rattlesnake” as told to Ella Deloria), and Historical/Cultural Teaching of the week…all in 100 percent Lakota.
For the local news section, Lakota Country Times gave the immersion program permission to translate any of their content into Lakota, and post the Lakota versions onto the new website. While the site will not be at the level of content creation of mainstream news sites, with dozens of stories added daily in real time, they hope that it will exist to be enjoyed by fluent speakers and as a resource and challenge for Lakota learners.
They hope to add several news stories per week, and update all of the various features of the site on a regular basis, including daily updates for such sections as “This Day in History” and the three-day weather forecast.
The final component of the site, which the creators hope will be up and running soon, is to have audio versions of the stories embedded in each article page, so that non-speakers as well as non-literate speakers can hear the stories read to them.
“We are still in the early stages of considering what this site could be and what it could contain. Editorials? Movie reviews? Maybe a comedy section for Lakota humor?” says Hill. “We truly hope to make this website a truly engaging experience for everybody.”