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Navajo Code Talkers lobby for Native language bill

Three Navajo Code Talker are in Washington, D.C., to push for passage of the Esther Martinez Native American Language Act.

Keith Little, Merril Sandoval and Samuel Tso used the Navajo language to create an unbreakable code during World War II. They are visiting the White House and Congress to lobby for the importance of preserving all Native languages.

"The Navajo Code Talkers have been called into action one more time; they are taking to Capitol Hill this week in an unprecedented effort to save one of America's greatest legacies -- its Native languages," said Ryan Wilson, the president of the National Alliance to Save Native Languages and president of the National Indian Education Association.

H.R.4766 would authorize the Department of Heath and Human Services to award grants for language immersion programs. It passed the House before Congress went on recess but was held up in the Senate.

The bill is named after Esther Martinez, a Tewa language instructor who was killed in an auto accident shortly after receiving a National Heritage Fellowship.

Get the Bill:
Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act (H.R.4766)

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