The first of four Dakota-English language road signs was unveiled on Monday, July 29 by the Lower Sioux Community on County Road 24, near Reservation Highway 5 in Morton.
The welcome sign is one of four dual-language signs going up in the Lower Sioux Community. It designates the west boundary. Identical welcome signs will be installed at the north, east, and south community boundaries, informing all of the Dakota language homeland name before European settlement.
“It’s something for our members to be proud of, our children, our elders, all of us,” said Lower Sioux Community President Robert Larsen, “that back in 2012, the leadership at the time saw how devastated our language was for us, so they passed a resolution that said our Dakota language is in peril and we need to do whatever we can to bring it back.”
In addition to starting language programs, the Lower Sioux began working with Indian Affairs and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to develop road signs in the Dakota language. The sign symbolizes language preservation, a sense of community and homeland, as well as awareness and partnership.
“When we come home here, we’re going to see that sign and have some self-pride,” said Larsen, following the unveiling, pointing to the sign and addressing the roadside gathering of community members, MnDOT and Redwood County representatives and local media. “I’m hoping that everyone’s going to take a piece of that and just smile when they see it and build more relationships with everyone that comes here. Thank you for being here, this is important to us.”