Bone Arrow & Lakota Language

Bone Arrow does not attempt to retell indigenous North American folktales or legends, but many names for individual characters were carefully chosen to reflect the personality or motivations.

These names in Bone Arrow are adapted from the Lakota languages, part of the Siouan language family. The Sioux form a group of indigenous Native American tribes sharing many connections of tradition, language and history. That said, the Siouan language family includes tribes from the Great Plains, stretching into southern Canada.

None of the languages in the Siouan language family are exactly the same. The Dakota and Lakota languages are closely related and speakers can understand each other fairly easily. The same is not true for the Nakota language group who are the next most-related language group to the Dakota-Lakota. The Nakota language group includes speakers from the Assiniboine and Stoney languages. Nakota speakers cannot easily understand the speakers of Lakota or Dakota despite being closely-related languages. This alone, emphasises the complexity and advanced networks between Amerindian tribes of the Great Plains.

I do not speak any of the Lakota languages nor have any training in linguistics. I thank the linguistic anthropologists for allowing insight to the Lakota languages so I might use a few words in Bone Arrow. My own research was basic but appreciate the fabulous bilingual resource from the Lakota Language Consortium and their efforts to share Lakhota with the next generations and anyone willing to learn. I also owe thanks to Native American Languages Net for sharing select words, phrases, folktales and resources from many indigenous tribes of the Americas.

Here are some of the names for important characters in Bone Arrow with their pictorial meaning in Lakota:

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