The third annual MHA Summer Institute will be held at the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College in New Town from June 27 through July 8. The Institute is a chance for teachers and students to come together and learn and share methods for teaching and learning second languages, which include Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. Registration is free for all who care to attend.
Behind this educational event is the NHS College, the MHA Language Project, and the Language Conservancy.
The Language Conservancy is a non-profit organization formed in 2005 in response to dying languages across Indian Country. The Language Conservancy works with tribes to provide infrastructure and resources for endangered languages. While some communities and tribes may not know where to begin in saving their languages, the Language Conservancy provides tools and methods to help.
Those within the Language Conservancy believe that some thoughts are only possible within a certain language, that things are lost in translation. They believe that more than a language is lost when one stops speaking it.
“Languages are fundamental and irreplaceable facets of a people’s culture and identity; they encompass stories, songs, traditions, jokes, ways of being,” said Wilhelm Meya, Director of the Language Conservancy. “A language stands for a whole culture, and diversity in language is just as important as diversity in the animal kingdom, because languages provide unique viewpoints. It is not only words that are lost when a language disappears, but an entire perception of the world.”