NEW TOWN Language and culture is a major concern for Alyce Spotted Bear.
At Fort Berthold Community College in New Town, Spotted Bear, the vice president of Native American Studies and Tribal Relations, is working to develop a baccalaureate program in Native American studies.
"Teaching language and culture is a concern of many Native Americans because our language and cultures define who we are as peoples," Spotted Bear said.
On Fort Berthold Reservation, she said Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara are being taught in schools around the reservation.
"New Town and Mandaree teach Hidatsa, Arikara is taught in White Shield and Mandan in Twin Buttes. We teach all three of the languages through courses at Fort Berthold Community College," she said. She said the college will soon have online/hybrid courses for the languages.
Spotted Bear said language and culture are definitely a concern of her's especially since there's only one speaker of the Mandan language remaining Edwin Benson until recently.
"Today, Cory Spotted Bear has gained some fluency in Mandan by linguistically working with Edwin," she said.
Benson teaches the Mandan language at Twin Buttes School and also works with Fort Berthold Community College.
"I am sure NACIE (National Advisory Council on Indian Education) will address issues of language and culture because there are education programs promoting language and culture," said Alyce Spotted Bear, who now is a member of the national advisory council.
Spotted Bear said Fort Berthold Community College has had a successful focused visit from the Higher Learning, the accrediting agency.
"However, we are waiting for final approval which will take a few months. Becoming a four-year college is pretty exciting. It will be another advancement for FBCC and our community," she said.