BA in Dakota Language

The goal of the Dakota language major is to best situate both heritage and non-heritage Dakota students to be able to positively intervene in the cultural life of the state's Dakota communities by contributing to the revitalization of the Dakota language.

As a land grant institution, the University has a mission to contribute to the state's communities, and the major will help fulfill that mission. The department also prioritizes local American Indian community engagement and advocacy. One of the single best ways to create positive change within our communities is to instill pride and celebrate cultural traditions like language at an early age.

What distinguishes this program from any other is our communication-centered approach based in storytelling and Dakota lifeways and knowledge in addition to using both academically rigorous grammatical instruction and immersion techniques inside the classroom. This method has proven to be a very powerful combination in helping our students reach a high level of proficiency in the Dakota language.

Students who complete the program to attain this high proficiency will have the foundational skills to contribute to Dakota language community-building by bringing the Dakota language back into the home, going into the high-demand field of immersion teaching, and working in language preservation programs. With this major, students will:

  • Be more prepared to fill an ever-growing need for immersion teacher positions.
  • Graduate with a more sophisticated knowledge of the Dakota language in general.
  • Graduate with the prestige that comes with having earned a bachelor's degree in the Dakota language.
  • Have more time to increase their fluency under instructor supervision.
  • Increase their knowledge of immersion pedagogy.
  • Earn a bachelor's degree in the Dakota language (rather than a certificate), thereby increasing both their Dakota language credentials and earning potential upon graduation.

Declare Your Major

Students considering a major or minor should schedule an appointment with Charissa Blue,, the American Indian studies department advisor.