indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

Printer friendly version
Senate bill called vital to Native language survival
FRIDAY, MAY 16, 2003

A bill to expand the education of Native languages drew so much support at a Senate hearing on Thursday that just about everyone asked to be a part of it.

Amendments to the Native American Languages Act, first passed in 1990, will authorize the creation of three "survival schools" in Alaska, Hawaii and Montana. Modeled after a successful Native Hawaiian program, the schools will provide comprehensive education in an all-Native environment.

"Language is important," said Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the bill's sponsor. "It's a link to the past and I think it's an anchor to the future."

The idea was warmly embraced by more than a dozen witnesses who documented their own successes in teaching Native languages. During the hearing, which was interrupted several times due to frequent Senate votes on the tax cut, they asked to be included in the survival school initiative.

"Given our unique circumstances the Southwest, we hope this committee will entertain a recommendation that a fourth center be established that will serve Native people in the Southwest," said Dr. Christine Sims, chairwoman of the Linguistic Institute for Native Americans and an Acoma Pueblo tribal member. Sims said Pueblo, Apache, Navajo and other tribes will benefit.

Speakers also asked the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to address the impacts of the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates federal standards in public education. They said a teacher certification requirement will hurt Native instructors, some of whom are tribal elders who were forbidden to speak their own languages.

"It doesn't take into account our Native language that are endangered and [it] will endanger all Native American children," said Geneva Navarro, 77, who teaches Comanche at the Comanche Nation College in Oklahoma.

"These Native languages helped save our country in World War I and World War II," she added.

Rita Coosewon, 71, is the only Comanche language instructor in her area's public school system but has to work with a certified teacher. She was taken to a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school at a young age and marveled at the changes federal law and policy have brought about in her lifetime.

"What a twist for them to ask me to come and teach this language that they wanted so hard for me not to know," she said.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Education Secretary Rod Paige had an "eye-opening experience" when he visited rural Alaska Native schools last week. "Keeping the languages alive -- we recognize that it is a challenge in the state," she said. "It ought not to be so."

Witnesses testified about the benefits of Native language instruction. They said it boosts boosts academic performance, preserves tribal culture and lowers drop out rates.

Jocelyn DesRosier started off as a volunteer at the Piegan Institute / Nizipuhwahsin School on the Blackfeet Nation in Montana and is now a teacher. She said graduates of the school, which serves up to grades 8, receive praise when they enter high school.

"The principal keeps phoning us and asking us what we did to these children," she said, "because they are so brilliant."

Dr. Kalena Silva, director of the Ka Haka‘Ula O Ke‘elikolani College at the University of Hawai'i, said 80 percent of students in the Native Hawaiian immersion program enter college.

Aside from the survival school, the bill authorizes "language nests." Tribes, tribal colleges, Native language educational organizations and other organizations can receive funds from the Department of Education for instructional programs.

Inouye acknowledged the changes suggested by the witnesses and said he hopes the bill will be approved by the Senate committee by the end of July.

Relevant Documents:
Witness List (May 15, 2003)

Get the Bill:
Native American Languages Act Amendments Act of 2003 (S.575)

Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Muscogee Nation activist dangled from bridge to stop oil ship (7/31)
Native Sun News: Rapid City mayor denies claim of retaliation (7/31)
Ernestine Chasing Hawk: Rapid City mayor's year of retaliation (7/31)
Brandon Ecoffey: Rapid City continues with tradition of racism (7/31)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe leaves people in dark (7/31)
Lakota Country Times: Group seeks to boost Pine Ridge tourism (7/31)
Federal murder charges laid for shooting on Crow Reservation (7/31)
Alex White Plume asks court for permission to plant hemp crop (7/31)
Isleta Pueblo welcomes Secretary Sally Jewell for school event (7/31)
Tribes caught off-guard with mandate from Affordable Care Act (7/31)
Commerce Blog: Secretary Pritzker meets with tribes and youth (7/31)
Tribes in Pacific Northwest 'very worried' about future of salmon (7/31)
Alaska to recognize tribal domestic violence protection orders (7/31)
Moapa Band enters $4.3M settlement for power plant pollution (7/31)
Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Indian Affairs holds first meeting (7/31)
Donald Trump not shy with invoking race when it comes to tribes (7/31)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe sees big future with Class II casino (7/31)
Catawba Nation still waiting for answer on casino land-into-trust (7/31)
Last defendant sentenced in theft case at Yakama Nation casino (7/31)
Senate committee examines costs of substance abuse on tribes (7/30)
Senate Indian Affairs Committee delays vote on land-into-trust (7/30)
BIA allows two more New Mexico gaming deals to go into effect (7/30)
Former workers at Choctaw Nation casino plead guilty to theft (7/30)
Inmate charged with murdering Mississippi Choctaw man in jail (7/30)
Native Sun News: Keystone XL Pipeline protest draws big crowd (7/30)
James Giago Davies: Don't judge anyone's depth of Lakotaness (7/30)
Tara Houska: DC rally puts focus on threats to sacred Oak Flat (7/30)
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Native mother left to die in a jail cell (7/30)
Julian Brave NoiseCat: Native issues you aren't hearing about (7/30)
Peter d'Errico: Seeking action after apology from Pope Francis (7/30)
Suspect in custody over deadly shooting on Crow Reservation (7/30)
Shooting highlights racial tensions on Wind River Reservation (7/30)
Pueblo man goes on trial for brutal murder of Navajo woman (7/30)
Another sentence in Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption scandal (7/30)
Oglala Sioux Tribe on track to complete $16.5M nursing home (7/30)
Quapaw Tribe hosts relatives for annual language conference (7/30)
Former police chief for Swinomish Tribe pleads guilty to theft (7/30)
Winnebago Tribe seeks more time to remove old bank building (7/30)
Opinion: Eastern Cherokee leaders kick reporter out of meeting (7/30)
Indian family in Washington still pursuing casino on trust land (7/30)
Red Lake Nation leader supports sales of liquor at two casinos (7/30)
Mohegan Tribe reports increase in profit from casino enterprise (7/30)
Sen. Barrasso introduces another version of land-into-trust fix (7/29)
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe adopts banishment for drug dealers (7/29)
Native Sun News: Rapid City trial ends with no defense witnesses (7/29)
Lakota Country Times: Youth come to Pine Ridge for 'Exposures' (7/29)
Charles Trimble: Being mixed-race Indian and being proud of it (7/29)
Ivan Star: It's up to all of us to keep the Lakota language alive (7/29)
Congress fails to provide funds to help tribes comply with VAWA (7/29)
Suit alleges tribal leaders received kickbacks from lobbying firm (7/29)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe claims DOJ support for marijuana (7/29)
Community on Crow Reservation on lockdown due to shooting (7/29)
Former Chippewa Cree Tribe chair sentenced in corruption case (7/29)
Hillary Clinton refuses to answer questions about Keystone XL (7/29)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.