As I sit at my grandmother’s oval-shaped wooden table, I feel a warm summer breeze through the open window. I ask her again how to pronounce iciyapi, writes Helen Thomas.
“Ee-chee-yah-pee,” she says in a slightly slower, but confident tone. I repeat the syllables in a much slower and deliberate voice. “Ee…chee…yah..pee” the writer continues.
“Good my girl, that sounds good,” she says. She is teaching me how to properly introduce myself in our Lakota language, Lakȟótiyapi. I feel a deep sense of comfort knowing she has had this conversation before with dozens of young Lakota learners during her time as a Lakota language teacher in our community of Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.