Native American Language Program (“NALP”) Profiled in Student Publication

The Lakȟóta language class meets twice a week at the NACC. Photo by Robbie Short.
May 3, 2018

The New Journal, a student publication run by Yale undergraduates, has published an article profiling the Lakȟóta community class offered through the Native American Language Project (NALP). Founded in 2015, NALP offers seven courses in Native languages, including Cherokee, Choctaw, Native Hawaiian, Lakȟóta, Mohawk, Navajo, and Ojibwe. Its “community classes,” such as Lakȟóta, meet twice a week throughout the academic year and in the Native American Cultural Center.

The article focuses on the many benefits as well as some of the challenges confronting students interested in studying Native American languages on campus. As it relays, “in many ways, this class is like any other language seminar at Yale. Each student has a reference text open on-screen (the New Lakota Dictionary). Their laptops are decorated with stickers (‘Yale Native,’ ‘Mahalo Ke Akua,’ and ‘Blue State Coffee’). But there’s one notable difference: even though these students meet twice a week for an hour each time and are assigned homework, as they do in other Yale classes, they aren’t receiving course credit.”

Students at the NACC are actively petitioning the Center for Language Study for formal language courses in Native languages, which would grant course credit. YGSNA faculty and staff actively support the running of NALP and are working to provide additional opportunities for course credit as well as language requirement fulfillment for participants.

As one NALP participant observes: “On the reservation, I was surrounded by my culture,” first-year student Gabriella Blatt, a member of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe in Montana, told The New Journal. “Coming here made me realize how important it is to hold onto what I have.”

Read the full article here.