MHA Education Dept., New Town, ND

Press Release: DiCaprio Wins and So Does Arikara

DiCaprio Wins and So Does Arikara

DiCaprio Oscar
Click the photo to watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s acceptance speech.

NEW TOWN, N.D. – MHA Language Project congratulates Leonardo DiCaprio on his Academy Award for The Revenant and has invited him to participate in a traditional buffalo hunt and recognition ceremony during the upcoming MHA Summer Institute. The event will celebrate the revitalization of the Arikara language, due in part to the film’s success.

The Revenant takes a critical step towards giving indigenous languages the chance to be heard. Featured prominently in the film, the Arikara language is one of the three languages spoken on North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, part of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara (MHA) Nation.

The film brought a surge of interest to the Arikara language, or Sáhniš as it is called by its speakers. Tribal members, especially youth, have joined language programs and classes in record numbers. The MHA Nation is spearheading the preservation of Arikara language and culture through the “MHA Language Project”.

The Project is establishing a system for creating and supporting new speakers of MHA languages, including the annual MHA Summer Institute – a place where teachers and learners of MHA Languages can gather to learn cutting-edge teaching methodologies, create language-learning materials and foster a positive learning environment

“I feel blessed to be a part of such a huge production,” said Loren Yellow Bird Sr., Arikara expert and a language consultant on The Revenant. “Leonardo and Alejandro, have allowed our history, culture and language to be seen by the world. [Now it is] our people who will need to forge ahead and continue this work for future generations.”


MHA Language Project is a project of the MHA Nation Tribal Education Department, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, NHSC Native American Studies and The Language Conservancy. The project aims to create as many new fluent speakers of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara as possible using best-practice solutions.

For more information:

The Language Conservancy (TLC) is leading the revitalization of endangered Native American languages across the U.S. by providing critical support to tribal education departments, schools, and by increasing public awareness on the crisis of disappearing languages.

For more information on The Language Conservancy visit

This press release appeared on PR Newswire.