Map Tales

Lakota Wicowoyake Canku owapi: Lakota Language Story Map

The Story:

There are well over 500 critically endangered languages across the world. Native American languages are becoming lost among changing cultures and societies. Language may be lost through emigration or immigration of cultures, and can cease to exist once no longer spoken. Native American languages are particularly at risk since they are often not spoken in other areas of the world.

The Lakota people are a native tribe with reservations in regions of North and South Dakota, USA. The Lakota language is a dialect of the Sioux tribe and today it is near extinction. With need for support and recognition, the Lakota Language Consortium aims to educate and train the public in order to keep their culture alive. Join the movement and become an activist, because public awareness and donations are imperative for these native languages to sustain.

lake – ble

town – othunwa he

“Native languages are important for the same reasons language is important to any group. It is a fundamental human right of expression – a right that arises out of thousands of years of linguistic cultivation, wherein each generation carefully passes on its language to the next”…

“Tókhel oyáte keč’éyaš tĥaíyapi waŋkátuya glawápi kiŋ héčhel Ikčé wičháša nakúŋ tĥaíyapi kiŋ hená waŋkál gluhápi. Hé ečhákel wóiyowaža tĥáwapi, waníyetu kĥoktópawiŋğe óta heháŋyaŋ iyápi kiŋ ičháĥ aú na iglúwaštešte aú, na wičhóičhağe iyóhila íyokhiheya úpi kiŋ hená iyápi kiŋ wičhák’upi. Héčhuŋpi s’e wičhóuŋ na wičhóĥ’aŋ kiŋ nakúŋ wičhák’upi”…

Story Maps Speak our Language:

Lakota Language
Listen up to this story map! Through beautiful photos and sound you will learn twelve Lakota words that describe the land while learning about a critically endangered language. James Rattling Leaf (right) and Joseph Kerski (left) demonstrate a collaboration of education, GIS, mapping and community involvement to highlight the native language of the Lakota people.


Learn More!

Joseph J. Kerski, Ph.D., GISP  |  Education Manager
Esri | 1 International Court | Broomfield CO  80021-3200 | USA
Tel 303-449-7779, ext. 1-8237 | Cell-Mobile 303-625-3925 |

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About the author

Amanda Murby

Amanda is a Ph.D. candidate with the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of New Hampshire. She is involved in several collaborative research projects focused on monitoring toxic cyanobacteria in water, air and within food webs. More info