MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota State University, Mankato will offer Dakota language and culture courses beginning this fall.

University president Richard Davenport says the courses will help preserve the culture and heritage of the Dakota people in the region and state. The University of Minnesota is the only other school offering a Dakota language course, although Bemidji State University offers Ojibwe language instruction.

The two-semester course at Mankato will introduce students to the basic language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing in Dakota language. Adjunct faculty member Glenn Wasicuna, a first-language Dakota speaker, will teach the course.

The university worked with the four Dakota communities in Minnesota in establishing the courses, including the Upper Sioux Community, the Lower Sioux Indian Community, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Prairie Island Indian Community.

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