Little Big Horn College, a tribal college on the Crow Reservation, in partnership with the Crow Language Consortium, will host the 10th annual Crow Summer Institute from June 6-24. The three-week program offers free Crow language and culture classes.
Participants must be at least 18 years old, and registration is now open, according to a news release. The institute offers two options — one for beginners and one for intermediate learners. Learners will have access to resources developed by Crow elders, speakers and knowledge keepers, including textbooks, flashcards, dictionaries and multimedia apps.
The Crow Summer Institute is offering $100 gas cards to some early registrants and Crow dictionaries for those who complete the program. Participants may also earn college credit through Little Big Horn College.
Ishkoochìia Chiiakaamnáah (Jacob Brien), a Crow language learner who attended past Crow Summer Institutes, said the program helped him "realize different connections and patterns within the language."
"It really helped me understand Crow jokes, and by extension Crow culture, which of course usually doesn't translate, as many subtleties of the language don't work in English," he said in a statement.
For more information on the Crow Summer Institute, visit summer.crowlanguage.org.
During the 1800s and 1900s, Native American children were separated from their families and forced to attend boarding schools, where they were punished for speaking Indigenous languages. As a result, the Crow language is considered endangered, and the number of tribal members fluent in Crow has decreased from 85% to 30% in the last 60 years, according to a 2020 Montana Budget and Policy Center report.
As fewer people engage with the language, critical pieces of Crow history, culture and tradition are lost.
But the Crow Language Consortium, a collective of Crow schools, colleges, and educators, works to change that by preserving Apsáalooke (the Crow language).
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.