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Editorial: No need for 'useless' Native languages

"Bill tries to save languages says the headline in the Salem Statesman Journal. This is followed by: A proposal gives Oregon Indians licenses to teach native languages before they are lost. (The languages or the Indians?) What is going on, here, is an odd admixture of political correctness vs. a public bureaucracy � a bizarre situation when you think of it. Today�s bureaucracies feed on political correctness the way piranhas feed on flesh. Anyway, the teacher�s unions aren�t thrilled by non-accredited instructors in government schools.

The languages in which these �feelings of the heart� were recently expressed (in the state legislature) include the following: Wasco, Sahaptin, Paiute, Nez Perce, Umatilla and Walla Walla. (Nez Perce, pronounced �Nay Persay,� is not an Indian term. It�s French.) Here�s another quote from the (as of 3-18) article in the SSJ.

Speaking first in her native language, Kiksht (I am not making this up), then in English, Madeline McInturff told a panel of state senators on March 8 that only a handful of people still speak her language, but she has hope that more will learn.

Our question at Oregon Magazine is -- why? "

Get the Story:
Editorial: The Critical Importance of Learning a Useless Language (Oregon Magazine April 2006)