Last Friday President Obama signed an executive order entitled Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities. The signing took place as part of the third White House Tribal Nations Conference and comes after a long campaign by tribal organizations and other advocacy groups, including theLinguistic Society of American Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation. The Order makes several explicit references to Native languages. I have highlighted some of these references below.
- “The Initiative shall help expand educational opportunities and improve educational outcomes for all American Indian / Alaska Native students, including opportunities to learn theirNative languages, cultures, and histories.”
- “the Initiative shall promote, encourage, and undertake efforts, consistent with applicable law, to … increasing the number and percentage of AI/AN children who enter kindergarten ready for success through improved access to high quality early learning programs and services, including Native language immersion programs…”
- “Each [federal] agency plan shall include: … the preservation and revitalization of tribal languages and cultural traditions.”
- “…encourage the private sector to … providing funds to support the preservation and revitalization of Native languages and cultures…”The signing of this Executive Order has been well received with many positive reactions over the weekend. For example, Alaska Senator Mark Begich noted that the Order will have repercussions for new legislation:
“Any new law must respect and embrace Alaska Native cultures and languages, as well as give educators the tools needed to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields. I am pleased to see a focus on improving educational outcomes and career opportunities.”
For the complete text of the Executive Order see the press release.
(via karnythia)December 12th, 2011 234 notes #langauge #native #american #indigenous #president #obama #support #history #linguistics