Arlene Blackdeer, a language apprentice for the Hoocak Waaziija Haci Language Division of the Ho-Chunk Nation, shares her experience in her community’s effort to bring back the Ho-Chunk language. The apprentice program pairs young people with elder native speakers to improve their language skills. These apprentices then go on to teach language classes in the schools and surrounding community. The story highlights the role of elders in the community in passing on cultural knowledge, and the language revitalization efforts currently under way.

The Ways is a series of stories from Native communities around the central Great Lakes. This online educational resource explores connections between traditional ways and those of today. Additional resources including an interactive map, student learning questions, and an essay can be found at: theways.org/story/language-apprentice

Contributed by WPT Education