Support the Native Languages Preservation Act
The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is urging support for reauthorization of the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act. The act funds programs that support and strengthen Native American language-immersion programs – including language nests, survival schools and restoration programs.
The act was named after Esther Martinez, a 94-year-old teacher and storyteller who was devoted to preserving the Tewa language. The act was signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2006, and it expired in fiscal year 2012.
On September 15, 2012, members of the New Mexico congressional delegation introduced legislation, S3546, to extend the program for another five years. Your support is needed to get the bill passed.
“Preserving our Native languages is critical to the survival of our cultures. At the same time, a growing body of research concludes that bilingualism improves a child’s cognitive development,” said NIEA President Dr. Heather Shotton.
Take Action Now! Call Senate Indian Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, at (202) 224-2251 today, and urge him to use the “clearance process” for a quick passage of the legislation.
In your message, tell Sen. Akaka that:
- The Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act strengthens tribal language, culture and identity.
- The survival of American Indian and Alaska Native languages is essential to the success of tribal communities and Native ways of life.
- The Esther Martinez Native American Languages Act provides tribes with critical support to establish and maintain immersion programs that revitalize Native languages.