Native American teacher brings Lakota language to 'Star-Spangled Banner'
MINNEAPOLIS - Lorna Her Many Horses grew up on South Dakota's Rosebud Indian Reservation, but she didn't master the language of her ancestors until she came to Minneapolis.
As a University of Minnesota undergraduate, she studied Dakota while earning a degree in education and occasionally teaching the misinformed about life on the reservation ("The number of times I've been asked if I ride a buffalo ... why would anyone think that?").
Now 23, Her Many Horses, who goes by the nickname Emmy, remains a teacher on many levels. She works for the Division of Indian Work, a program of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. In a summer class at a Minneapolis school, she teaches the Dakota language, of which Lakota is a dialect.
During the regular school year, she and other language instructors work in the Minneapolis public schools to teach Ojibwa and Dakota in after-school sessions to elementary school American Indian children.
She's also used her language skills to build something fascinating and unique - a Lakota and Dakota version of "The Star Spangled Banner," created with the help of her language instructors at the University of Minnesota American Indian studies department as part of an effort to honor her four family members who are military veterans.
Hundreds of veterans have been given copies, although she said getting the words right was a challenge.
"It was quite a process, figuring out what words we needed to make up," she said of translating the national anthem. "We don't really have a word for 'rocket.'"