CITY - Fast hands and a solid background in Lakota were all it took
to power Cheyenne Eagle Butte into the second round of the Lakota
Language Bowl on Thursday.
Language Bowl is among activities that are part of the Lakota Nation
Invitational basketball tournament taking place this week at Rushmore
Plaza Civic Center.
Hand Game Tournament starts at 10 a.m. today in Rushmore Hall, and
finals for the championship round will be in the arena. Knowledge
Bowl contestants meet from 9 a.m. to noon in the Blue, Gold and
Red rooms for the preliminaries. Quiz Bowl finals are from 1 p.m.
to 6 p.m.
final round of Lakota Language Bowl begins at 10 a.m. in the Alpine
Room, and a student dance begins at 9 p.m. in Rushmore Hall South.
Thursday's Language Bowl, Ashley Chasing Hawk's quick flick of the
buzzer rang her team to an 18-0 finish.
Tammy Granudos, Lisa Aungie, Duane Curley and Kyle Brown backing
up the Cheyenne Eagle Butte junior, Chasing Hawk reeled off a tongue-tripping
set of words in a room filled with competitors from most of South
Dakota's American Indian reservations.
strategy is Try to hit the buzzer fast,'" Granudos said.
Chasing Hawk gladly obliged, and the team advanced to its next round
of sentences and phrases.
tend to get overly excited when I'm competing," Chasing Hawk
coach Iris Dupris was confident about how well her team would perform.
"I think everyone knows we're the competition," she said.
five contestants, seated at tables, faced a panel of judges. An
announcer said the category and the word that would be translated
into Lakota. Team members would push buzzers to get the first chance
to say the word. If the word was mispronounced or incorrect, the
competitors had 10 seconds to answer. Correct answers scored a point,
and the game went on to the next word.
included four directions, Lakota values, stages of life the
seven sacred rites, ceremonial vocabulary, domestic animals and
Curley, 17, although proficient, is not fluent in Lakota. The LNI
Language Bowl and others like it help keep it in their school's
curriculum and in the mainstream.
is what these contests are for, to keep the language alive,"
family aunts, uncles and older generations are fluent
speakers, and it's something that the Cheyenne Eagle Butte senior
strives for. "I practice on it, and it's something I hope to
be. It would be cool to learn to speak the original language,"
under pressure, Kyle Brown, 15, loves the competition of the bowl
and the edginess of the time limits.
competing, it's interesting," he said.
if other team members buzz in to translate a word, they often huddle
for a quick conference. "We want to make sure the words agree,"
Eagle Butte freshman can be found in the crowd while other teams
compete, too. Sometimes in the back and sometimes in the front row,
he's soaking up the sounds, words and phrases. "You can silently
answer the questions, and you can learn a lot by watching the others."
and Curley have never been discouraged from learning their ancestral
Granudos' household, however, her grandfather encouraged only English.
grandpa believed if we talked Indian, we'd be hurt or hit,"
forbidden by schools, now the formerly underground language is taught
in daily classes, plays a part in popular movies and is the basis
of a tournament. On Thursday, Granudos advanced in that tournament
using a language her grandfather wasn't allowed to speak.