About Beverly's Work

Beverly Running Bear, Oglala Lakota, lives in Rapid City, SD, and teaches Lakota Language at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD. Growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1950s, Bev’s first language was Lakota, but she lost the language when she went to school and was forbidden to speak it. It took taking Lakota in college for her to re-gain knowledge of her language.

Now, her passion for teaching Lakota comes out of the sheer desire to preserve it. Fluency is dwindling — less than 20 percent of the Oceti Sakowin speak Lakota at a fluent level. Most of these speakers are elders.

Tokatakiya Lakota Iyapi Woanwangliake

Her objective is developing elder-inspired ways to approach Lakota language preservation.  Additionally, Bev hopes that by creating a video history of Lakota, fluent speakers, the next generation of speakers will have another preservation asset. Bev believes language holds the key to the Lakota way of life.