Teaching Indigenous Languages

Teaching Indigenous Languages

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Indigenous Languages Articles & Chapters

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Cover Babel Magazine
Opportunity Versus Identity: Indigenous Peoples Learning New Languages
Jon Reyhner

This 2017 article in Babel: The Language Magazine looks at the negative effects of assimilationist educational efforts that sought to 'civilize' Indigenous peoples through English-only schooling.

Heritage Language Journal
Indigenous Language Immersion Schools for Strong Indigenous Identities
Jon Reyhner

Based on evidence from indigenous language immersion programs in the United States, this Heritage Language Journal fall 2010 article makes the case that these immersion programs are vital to healing the negative effects of colonialism and assimilationist schooling that have disrupted many indigenous homes and communities. It describes how these programs are furthering efforts to decolonize indigenous education and helping further United Nations policies supporting the rights of indigenous peoples. The fit between place-, community-, and culture-based education and immersion language programs is described with examples from Apache, Ojibwe, Diné (Navajo), Hawaiian, and Blackfeet language programs, illustrating how traditional indigenous values are infused into language programs to help build strong positive identities in indigenous students and their communities.

Language Rights and Cultural Diversity
Giving Language Rights Meaning: Revitalizing Basque, Navajo, and Other Indigenous Languages and Cultures
Jon Reyhner

This 2013 chapter published in Language Rights and Cultural Diversity by the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada and edited by Xabier Irujo and Viola Miglio examines the historical repression of Basque, Navajo, and other Indigenous languages by national governments and historical and current efforts to revitalize these languages.

Cover of NABE News
Linguicism In America
Jon Reyhner

This 2007 NABE News article argues that efforts to make English the Official Language of the United States and ban bilingual education are misguided and go against traditional American beliefs in freedom, including the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech.

Cover of Language Learner
Bilingual Education for Healthy Students, Healthy Communities
Jon Reyhner

This 2006 Language Learner article criticizes the assimilationist rhetoric of Arizona congressman J.D. Hayworth and emphasizes the importance of American Indian traditional values for the health of American Indian students and communities.

Cover of Language Learner
Cultural Rights, Language Revival, and Individual Healing
Jon Reyhner

This 2005 Language Learner article describes the negative effects of colonial assimilationist schooling on American Indians and the healing effects of efforts to revitalize Native languages and cultures.

Cover of Cultural Survival Quarterly
Cultural Survival vs. Forced Assimilation: The Renewed War on Diversity
Jon Reyhner

This 2001 Cultural Survival Quarterly article examines the "English Only" Movement in the United States as exemplified by the passage of Proposition 203 in Arizona and 227 in California. It argues for language freedom and documents what is being lost through efforts to suppress indigenous languages.

Cover of Revitalizing Indigenous
Some Basics of Indigenous Language Revitalization
Jon Reyhner

Drawing from papers presented at the five Stabilizing Indigenous Languages symposiums held since 1994 and other sources, activities are recommended for language revitalization at each of Joshua Fishman's eight stages of language loss. The role of writing in indigenous language revitalization is discussed, and two types of language use, primary and secondary discourse, are described. The conclusion stresses the importance of motivating language learners and using teaching methods and materials that have proven effective in indigenous communities. This article is the introduction to Revitalizing Indigenous Languages (1999).

Cover of Bilingual Research Journal
Maintaining and Renewing Native Languages
Jon Reyhner and Edward Tennant

Reviews research on maintaining and renewing American Indian languages and gives a rationale for the importance of maintaining them in terms of Native students' cross-cultural understanding. Joshua Fishman's theoretical paradigm for reversing language shift is summarized and tribal and national language policies are reviewed. Early childhood, elementary, secondary, and tribal college native language efforts are described along with Navajo and Yup'ik examples of school-based native-language maintenance/renewal efforts. Based on the research of tribal native-language renewal efforts and current research on second language teaching, specific suggestions are given for maintaining and renewing native languages. 1995 Bilingual Research Journal article.

American Indian Language Policy and School Success
Jon Reyhner

Summarizes the history of government policy towards American Indian languages from colonial times to the passage of the Native American Languages Act of 1990 and links language policy to the academic success of American Indian students in terms of a subtractive English-Only curriculum that is designed to assimilate Indian children into the dominant culture of the United States versus an additive English-Plus curriculum that recognizes and values American Indian traditional cultures. 1993 Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students article.

Monograph Cover
A Description of the Rock Point Community School Bilingual Education Program
Jon Reyhner

This 1990 paper describes a model K-12 Navajo/English maintenance bilingual program at Rock Point Community School in the Navajo Nation. This article is also available from ERIC: ED354772.

Articles on American Indian / Indigenous Education

Complete List of Articles and Chapters by Jon Reyhner

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