Best Practices Released for Native Language Immersion Programs

New First Nations report details reflections and findings from 32 community partners

LONGMONT, Colo. (January 27, 2022) – First Nations Development Institute today announced the release of reflections, findings, and best practices from 32 community partners engaged in work to advance Native Language Immersion programs.

The report, Ready for a New Decade: Investing in Native Language Immersion,” highlights four years of targeted investments made through First Nations’ Native Language Immersion Initiative. Released with the acknowledgement of the United Nations’ Declaration of 2022 to 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Language, the report showcases the effectiveness of language immersion as a method for producing a new generation of proficient speakers, the importance of capacity-building investments in Native language immersion programs, and the good work being accomplished in Native language revitalization.

Through the Native Language Immersion Initiative, First Nations supported four rounds of funding for Native language immersion programs from 2018 to 2021. Overall 46 grants totaling over $4 million were awarded to support 32 Native language immersion programs.

This work was funded with the generous support of the National Endowment for Humanities, NoVo Foundation, Lannan Foundation, Kalliopeia Foundation, Wells Fargo, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, and thousands of individual donors across the nation.

Kendall Tallmadge, senior program officer for First Nations, said the initiative and the work of the community partners has helped slow the rapid loss of Indigenous languages by supporting the infrastructure needed for promising models and efforts to educate and cultivate new language speakers.

Mary Downs, senior program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities, added that language is where we encode our culture, identity, history, and traditions. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to partner with First Nations in supporting efforts to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages so that current and future generations of speakers have access to their heritage and to these important forms of cultural knowledge.

The evaluation report is accompanied by a Summary for Funders and Allies, which shares targeted advice that aligns with equity and social justice efforts, as well as a Summary for Native Communities and Language Practitioners, which is designed to support other communities that are working on language revitalization.

First Nations’ Native Language Immersion Initiative is part of the 41-year-old organization’s Strengthening Tribal and Community Institutions and Investing in Native Youth programs, centering Native languages as a core investment and strategy in affirming tribal sovereignty and perpetuating Native resilience solutions and wisdom to address the challenges Native communities face today.

To learn more about the initiative and access all three reports, visit

About First Nations Development Institute
For 41 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit