There are 5 Dakota communities within Manitoba and the Dakota people are part of the greater Ocheti shakowin, the Seven Council Fires. These council fires are across the plains of North America and consist of many different dialects (Lakota, Nakota and Dakota). The common roots and governance system ensures continued understanding as new words were shared at council fire gatherings. Manitoba has representation of all seven council fires, however Lakota is spoken mainly in Saskatchewan and the United States.
At Indigneous Languages of Manitoba, we are committed and dedicated to the revitalization and preservation of Indigenous Languages and want to shed light on the dire situations that our languages are in;
Dakota is a part of the Siouan-language family, which has 5400 speakers in Canada (0.01% of the total population) (Statistics Canada, 2017), with 630 of those being Dakotan speakers, in Manitoba (0.05% of the provincial population) (Statistics Canada, 2017). The language has a vitality rating of endangered (Ethnologue, n.d), as it is no longer the primary language that children use. Dakota is considered in trouble (Ethnologue, n.d) because “intergenerational transmission” is in the process of being broken but there are fluent speakers who are of childbearing age.
Statistics Canada. (October 25, 2017). Census in Brief: The Aboriginal languages of First
Nations people, Métis, and Inuit. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016022/98-200-x2016022-eng.cfm.
Statistics Canada. (2017). Census Profile, 2016 Census.
Ethnologue. (n.d). Dakota. https://www-ethnologue-com.uwinnipeg.idm.oclc.org/language/dak.
Our gathering supports, strengthens and celebrates our Indigenous languages and our theme Bringing Our Languages Home combats the standstill of intergenerational transmission and focuses on bringing the languages back to our communities and our homes.
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