ERIC Number: ED395729
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
Rationale and Needs for Stabilizing Indigenous Languages.
Although American Indian and Alaska Native communities have largely won the legal right to maintain their languages and cultures, they lack the "effective right" to do so. The effective right means access to the tools for getting the job done--the knowledge, strategies, and resources necessary to resist destruction of languages and cultures. This rationale and needs statement documents the importance of indigenous languages as an irreplaceable cultural knowledge and as a cornerstone of indigenous community and family values. It reviews past government policies to eradicate indigenous languages and the reversal of those policies with the new federal policy of Indian self-determination over the last quarter century. In the 1990s, support for self-determination and for the maintenance of Native languages and cultures has been demonstrated by the Native American Languages Act of 1990, the work of the Indian Nations At Risk Task Force and the White House Conference on Indian Education, and the United Nations International Year for the World's Indigenous People. Following a summary of tribal educational and language policies, several courses of action are recommended to assist Native communities in developing the effective right to maintain their languages. These actions focus on fostering innovative community-based strategies, directing research toward analyzing community-based successes, fostering cooperation between communities and organizations, and promoting heightened consciousness of the catastrophic effects of language loss for both language minorities and the mainstream population. Contains 27 references. (SV)
Descriptors: Alaska Natives, American Indian Education, American Indian Languages, American Indians, Bilingual Education, Cultural Maintenance, Educational Policy, Elementary Secondary Education, Eskimo Aleut Languages, Federal Legislation, Indigenous Populations, Language Maintenance, Public Policy, Self Determination
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Endangered Languages; Language Policy
Note: In: Stabilizing Indigenous Languages; see RC 020 517.