Artists use their skills to teach Native American languages

MINNEAPOLIS – Several artists across Minnesota are using their talents to help teach Native American languages.

Neil McKay is a member of the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota who instructs students in the Dakota language at the University of Minnesota.Classically trained in guitar, he learned to meld his interest in the Dakota language and music. Chris Griffith and Shari Aronson are co-founders of Z Puppets Rosenschnoz, a puppet theater in Minneapolis.

For the past four years, they have been performing “Say It! Sing It! Play It! In Cherokee.” Another artist and educator, Wesley Ballinger, has worked on two series of Ojibwe language textbooks.

Supporters say that as the movement to learn Indigenous languages grows, more creative ways are needed to teach them.