Lakota no longer its own class in Sioux Falls School District

Sioux Fall, South Dakota (AP) 8-09

The Sioux Falls School District no longer will offer instruction in the Lakota language as its own class.

Lakota had been offered as a one-year course to high school students each of the past two years. It now will become part of the broader Native American Connections classes, taught at the city’s three high schools and five middle schools.

Paulette High Elk, who last year taught the language daily at the high schools, now will share class time with all Native American Connections teachers in the district.

Gail Swenson, who oversees American Indian education for the district, says the change is a way to get High Elk in more schools. Administrators also hope to expose students to the Lakota language at an earlier age.

Mason Calhoun, a junior this fall at Washington High, says he has mixed feelings on the consolidation of the classes. He says it will save time for students who want to learn Lakota and also take the Native American Connections class, but that not all students who take the broader class want to learn Lakota.