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Native languages slowly losing fluent speakers

Of the 500 Native languages that existed prior to European contact, only 100 remain and only 20 are still spoken by young people, according to the National Indian Education Association.

One of the endangered languages is Mandan. Only eight fluent speakers are alife, said Tex Hall, the chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota.

Ryan Wilson, the president of the NIEA, joined Hall and David Gipp, the president of the United Tribes Technical College in pushing for the passage of legislation to preserve Native languages. The leaders said the establishment of immersion schools would help create a new generation of speakers.

Get the Story:
Congress urged to save native languages (The Bismarck Tribune 7/28)

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