Editorial: The fight to preserve the Navajo language

"The United States is a primarily English-speaking country, and also much of the world uses English as a unifying form of communication.

Learning to speak English, and to speak it well, is a must for anyone looking to succeed in the American and perhaps even the global economic and social society.

So where does that leave the Navajo tongue?

Navajo leaders and friends are hoping that because of the rich history and cultural ties to the language, students will want to learn it to keep that history and culture alive for many more generations.

Understanding the Navajo language, they say, is to understand the Navajo beliefs about how the Navajo people came to exist and how their culture can be interpreted beyond just words.

Help may be on the way.

The University of New Mexico has offered Navajo language classes for 35 years. However, a new bill planned for introduction to the 2007 Legislature will seek support for expanding the university's role into a Navajo linguistics department, in which the language would not only be taught, but studied for its cultural significance as well.

Also, President Bush signed into law just last week legislation that would establish grants for governments, colleges and other Indian educational organizations working to preserve native cultures and language."

Get the Story:
Editorial: A fight to preserve the Navajo tongue (The Farmington Daily Times 12/18)

Another Story:
Vanishing identity? (The Farmington Daily Times 12/17)

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

2006 National Heritage Fellowships:
Bio: Esther Martinez | List of Recipients

Relevant Links:
Indigenous Language Institute - http://www.indigenous-language.org

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