Language preservation can be fun

Keeping a language alive isn’t all work and no play. In North Dakota, according to the Grand Forks Herald, teams from Sioux reservation schools in North Dakota, South Dakota and Manitoba are playing Scrabble in Dakota Sioux. Teams gathered this month to compete in a tournament at a casino near Hankinson, North Dakota.

A group of Sisseton-Wahpeton elders, all fluent in the language, wrote a 207-page Official Dakotah Scrabble Dictionary in support of the effort.

One of those elders, David Seaboy, 63, who grew up with Dakota as his first language, commmented,”What strikes me is the reaction of the kids, how hungry they are to learn and understand their native language.”

Hasbro, the maker of the game, authorized development of the Dakotah version, which was supported financially by the company’s chairman, Alan Hassenfeld, and permitted the making of 30 educational and up to 500 home-version games.

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