ERIC Number: ED482043
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: N/A
Missionaries and American Indian Languages.
Yazzie, Evangline Parsons
This paper discusses the evolution of missionaries' role in U.S. settlement and education, focusing on the impact on American Indian languages. Missionaries did not know the respective cultures of the American Indian tribes they worked with, and they viewed cultures different from their own as inferior. They could not conceive of any difference between the Gospel and their own culture and could not imagine Native Americans following Christ within their tribal culture. They feared that their Indian converts would practice syncretism. The plight of many American Indians who accepted Christ was that there was no "halfway point," so if they converted, they had to wear white man's clothing, observe the Sabbath, send their children to school, and build a house. The fear of some Christian parents in regard to teaching Navajo in the schools is that as their children learn the language along with religion, their naivete and innocence will lead to syncretism. The paper presents recommendations for teaching the Navajo language. Three appendixes offer Navajo Christian parents' responses to the question, "Is the Navajo language important?"; Navajo Christian parents' objections to the teaching of Navajo in the schools; and recommendations of Navajo Christian parents for teaching Navajo in schools. (Contains 25 references.) (SM)
Descriptors: American Indian Languages, American Indians, Christianity, Cultural Differences, Elementary Secondary Education, Language Maintenance, Native Language Instruction, Navajo (Nation), Uncommonly Taught Languages, United States History
For full text: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~jar/NNL/.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Northern Arizona Univ., Flagstaff.