The American Indian Studies Research Institute (AISRI) at Indiana University in collaboration with members of the Fort Belknap and Fort Peck communities are working together to produce a complete K-12 Nakóda language curriculum. Incorporating traditional stories narrated by Nakóda elders and beautifully illustrated by Nakóda artists, the children will learn by listening to the words of their elders using twenty-first century technology.
In our first year we have produced textbooks for Kindergarten and First Grade, an app with access to stories and vocabulary, as well as an Alphabet book, classroom posters, songbooks and worksheets. This work has been made possible through years of work by AISRI scholars and Nakóda speakers to record their stories and language.
In December 2017, Nakóda language teachers approached AISRI to explore the feasibility of developing a comprehensive K-12 curriculum for Nakóda school children. AISRI had long worked with these communities and we soon realized that our collections of narratives and stories could provide a solid foundation for the curriculum. The project is truly innovative in being able to incorporate the voices of Nakóda elders into newly produced language materials.
We gratefully acknowledge support for this project from the following: The Lodge Pole Sub-Council at Fort Belknap, Fort Peck Assiniboine Council, Fort Peck Community College, Island Mountain Development Group, Inc., Humanities Montana, Potlatch Fund and Indiana University.