Native American Language Revitalization Legislation
Through its Native Youth and Culture Fund, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) makes grants annually to support youth and culture programs in Native American communities across the U.S. The projects cover a variety of areas, including language learning/revitalization efforts, youth-elder intergenerational programs, cultivating responsibility and leadership, traditional foods and farming, wellness, history and cultural documentation.
We applaud and support the Linguistic Society of America’s (LSA) campaign to educate members of the U.S. Congress about the benefits of Native American language revitalization. As such, we are passing along LSA’s own description of its effort along with the relevant weblinks from the LSA campaign.
There are two bills currently pending in both houses of Congress that seek to enhance efforts to revitalize Native American languages:
- H.R.726/S.2299 Native American Languages Reauthorization Act of 2014
- H.R.4214/S.1948 Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act
A hearing to examine the merits of these bills was held by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on June 18, 2014, and both S.1948 and S.2299 were unanimously approved by the Committee on July 30. The legislation has gained bipartisan support in both houses of Congress. A list of legislative sponsors is provided below.
The LSA is working with its Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) and allied organizations to raise awareness within Congress about the importance of Native American language revitalization. If you are interested in communicating your opinions about this legislation to your Senators or Representatives, please visit this link provided courtesy of the National Humanities Alliance, where an action alert has been established.
The LSA has also sent thank-you letters to all current legislative sponsors of the bills. If your members of Congress are listed as sponsors below, you may wish to do the same.
Senate Bill Sponsors*
- Brian Schatz – S.1948 & S.2299 co-sponsor; HI
- Mark Begich – S.1948 & S.2299 co-sponsor; AK
- Tim Johnson – S.1948 co-sponsor, S.2299 lead sponsor; SD
- Max Baucus – S.1948 co-sponsor; MT (no longer serving in the Senate)
- Tom Udall – S.1948 & S.2299 co-sponsor; NM
- Lisa Murkowski – S.1948 & S.2299 co-sponsor; AK
- Heidi Heitkamp – S.1948 co-sponsor; SD
- John Walsh- S.1948 & S.2299 co-sponsor; MT
- Martin Heinrich – S.1948 & S.2299 co-sponsor; NM
- Al Franken – S.2299 co-sponsor; MN
- Mazie Hirono – S.2299 co-sponsor; HI
- Jon Tester – S.1948 lead sponsor, S.2299 co-sponsor; MT
- Angus King – S.2299 co-sponsor; ME
House Bill Sponsors*
- Ben Ray Lujan – H.R.726 lead sponsor; NM-3
- Colleen Hanabusa – H.R.726 co-sponsor; HI-1
- Lucille Roybal-Allard – H.R.726 co-sponsor; CA-40
- James Moran – H.R.726 co-sponsor; VA-8
- Gloria Negrete McLeod – H.R.726 co-sponsor; CA-35
- Louise Slaughter – H.R.726 co-sponsor; NY-25
- Betty McCollum – H.R.726 & H.R. 4214 co-sponsor; MN-4
- Stevan Pearce – H.R.726 co-sponsor; NM-2
- Raul Grijalva – H.R.726 co-sponsor; AZ-3
- Ed Pastor – H.R.726 co-sponsor; AZ-7
- Raul Ruiz – H.R.726 co-sponsor; CA-36
- Tom Cole – H.R.4214 lead sponsor; OK-4
*Sponsors list current as of July 30, 2014