Chapter 5:Restore my Language and treat me justly: Indigenous Students’ rights to their tribal languages Dorothy Aguilera and Margaret D. Lecompte Presenter: Roberta Schettig
Introduction • language preservation is critically important to students who belong to indigenous communities. • enforce positive cultural identity.
Culturally compatible education: • education that enhances both social and emotional development for indigenous students
Disappearing Languages? • within 60 years only 20 of more than 300 indigenous languages existing in the 19th century will remain.
Revitalizing indigenous languages • audiotape resources and tape archives • SLA by adults who can teach the language in schools is critical • consistent funding
Deciding factors • not simply the number of its speakers, but the esteem granted to that language in comparison to dominant culture languages.
Two Examples: • The chapter describes two communities: • Central Alaskan Yup’ik • Native Hawaiian
The Hawaiian Islands: Revitalizing Traditional and Linguistic Knowledge • 1890s - English-only law was imposed • Hawaiian language use continued in churches, newspapers, and politics in the early 1900s, but English was the only language taught to Hawaiian children in schools.
The Hawaiian Islands: • 1920s the English only law. • Native Hawaiians instituted foreign language courses • 1959, no Hawaiian speaking children were entering school aside from those on isolated islands.
The Hawaiian Islands: • 1983-a non-profit organization persuaded the state government to suspend the English only law. • 1986-Hawaiian allowed in schools
The Hawaiian Islands: • This organization opened a preschool, designed to simulate the environment of an extended family.
The Hawaiian Islands: • first senior class graduated in 1999. • completion rate =100% • 80% of graduates attend college.
A Yup’ik Village: Preserving Subsistence Practice and Language • one of the largest tribes in Alaska • practiced subsistence hunting, fishing, and berry gathering.
A Yup’ik Village: • During seasonal outings: • each family gathers traditional fish food at fish camps • transfer native languages and cultural practices from one generation to the next
A Yup’ik Village: • 2002: plans being made for the dual language immersion charter school. • Only in the remote village • Until the 1970s, Yup’ik had been spoken among adults and children in this remote village.
A Yup’ik Village: • village English is typically the first language of the central Alaska Yup’ik. • 3 years after the institution of the NCLB educational reforms, the districts learned they no longer had bilingual education funds that has supported the districts dual immersion.
US government policy on indigenous language rights • In 1880 on Native American reservations: • English instruction was a policy strictly enforced by mission and government schools. • All were required to administer instruction in the English language. • all instruction in English.
US government policy: • boarding schools • pervasive bans on speaking indigenous languages • burning of traditional Indian clothing • destruction of religious and cultural artifacts • mandate that native children must choose a Christian religion and name
Language Loss and Revitalization • assimilationist education systems: • sociocultural and emotional impact • policies at the national level regarding education of indigenous and non-English speakers influenced the patterns of native language loss.
Causes of indigenous language loss: • colonization and genocide; • federal policies. • Influences of English media. • Marginalization of students
Recommendations for change: • The author suggests: • 1) Eliminate English only requirements and federal state policies restricting language rights in native American communities so that native language instruction can flourish • 2) Create exceptions to NCLB specially tailors to tribally controlled and indigenous language-based schools. • Permit achievement testing in both native languages and English • Count individual student gains • Eliminate negative financial sanctions • Provide funding
Discussion questions: • Think about past policies that have restricted language rights. How are rights being restricted in today's day and age and what does this mean for language education? • The author mentions that English media has influenced the loss of language. How do you think English media has influenced language learning as a whole? How should we approach this influence as language educators? • What recommendations in addition to the authors would you suggest to stop the loss of indigenous languages? • How can we value these indigenous languages?