Lakota words and phrases have been an important part of our programming since the Club opened, but we have always had a goal of holding more regular Lakota language classes. Our Parmelee Club site Program Coordinator, Robby Shot With Two Arrows, started teaching weekly Lakota language classes in 2020. Club members are learning how to have simple conversations, such as: “What is your name? My name is Eli. Where do you live? I live in Parmelee”. They are also learning other simple phrases that they might hear spoken in the community and be able to understand.
Classes are 30 minutes each and include engaging activities for learning beyond basic word repetition. Usually, Club members work on language for 15 minutes then reads a books about Lakota stories and virtues. So far the kids have been doing a really good job and seem to have an interest in learning the language. They were shy at first but eventually started to gain confidence and say the words. It is very important that we do our part to teach Lakota to our youth , as Shot With Two Arrows stated, “with our language slowly dying out, we’re doing what we can to help preserve it. Even if it’s once a week now, at least it's a start”.
Below are two videos sharing simple Lakota phrases:
Our Rosebud Club has an active drum circle. Members of the drum circle sing at a number of different events on the reservation during the year and frequently practice singing and drumming at the Club. The Drum circle is a very important part of Lakota culture and it is awesome to experience the focus and concentration our youth have while they sing.
Our archery program has taught many of our older elementary Club members and Teen Club members the basic skills of this sport. Some of our Club members have even learned how to make their own bow and arrows through workshops offered throughout the year.
LIGHTNING STICK SOCIETY
The Lightning Stick Society Lacrosse team has grown into an excellent program, teaching our local young people to play the creator's game. In 2017, our young men won the South Dakota varsity lacrosse championship. We have had players recently earn lacrosse scholarships, even full rides, do DI and DII universities. This is thanks to the dedicated work of our our coaches and other volunteers.
A few times a year local organizations partner with us and teach our Club members traditional Native crafts such as how to make drums moccasins, and jewelry. These are wonderful experiences for our youth who often continue to create even after the workshops are completed.