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ERIC Number: EJ1098469
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: EISSN-1938-9809
The Impact of Immigration on Bilingualism among Indigenous American Peoples
Ahler, Janet Goldenstein
Forum on Public Policy Online, v2007 n1 Win 2007
Early federal government policies for American indigenous people alternated between extermination and assimilation. Imposing the colonists' and immigrants' language on indigenous people was important for achieving the latter. In the 1970-90's, federally funded grants for bilingual education for indigenous schools were offered to accommodate Native American pressures to reverse the tragic results of those former policies. The stated bilingual goals were to teach them Standard English and to revitalize indigenous languages. Many of these Native American students speak "Indian English" (W. Leap, 1993), a dialect resulting from sociolinguistic interference (see theory, D. Hymes, 1971). Few know any of their Native language. The "Indian English" dialect is ignored, even denigrated as a substandard communication form in these programs. This paper's purpose is to trace the evolution of bilingual education programs and their impact on Native American bilingualism and language revitalization for selected communities in the Northern Plains. Thirty years of evaluating these programs with ethnographic methods have resulted in these conclusions: 1) the local English dialect must be recognized as viable for Standard English to be acquired, 2) indigenous language revitalization requires infinitely more effort than what was provided, and 3) the government's covert goal remained assimilationist, not truly bilingual.
Oxford Round Table. 406 West Florida Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801. Tel: 217-344-0237; Fax: 217-344-6963; e-mail: editor@forumonpublicpolicy.com; Web site: http://www.forumonpublicpolicy.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A