Teaching Indigenous Languages  

Effective Language Education Practices

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Appendices A & B, Effective Language Education Practices and Native Language Survival (pp. 149-154), edited by Jon Reyhner. Choctaw, OK: Native American Language Issues. Copyright 1990 by NALI Board of Executors and Jon Reyhner.

Appendix A
About NALI

The International Native American Language Issues (NALI) Institute is a non-profit organization established to examine Native language and cultural concerns and related educational and research issues. It sponsors an annual institute designed to bring together traditional language practitioners and language professionals with a focus on the need to balance the demands of modern education with the wisdom of traditional ways of teaching and the richness of the indigenous languages and cultures of the Americas.

NALI had its beginnings in 1980 when a group of concerned professional language educators met to discuss Native American language issues in Los Alamitos, California. The second meeting on native languages was held in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1981. In 1982, the group met in Palm Springs, California. Additional meetings were held in Seattle, Washington, in the spring of 1983 and in Tempe, Arizona, in 1984. Continued growth of the group occurred with the special Institute held in Billings, Montana, in 1985, adding indigenous language groups from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South America.

In 1986, the Oklahoma group formally organized into a non-profit organization with a board of executors (trustees) and put on an exciting Institute with continued international involvement and the added participation of Native Hawaiians. The 1987 Institute was held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with tremendous involvement and support from many Canadian Indian nations. Participation was seen from as far north as the Dene Nation of the Northwest Territories. Each year has brought about new growth and renewed commitment. This growth is witnessed by the 2200 or so NALI members, the majority of whom are North American Indians.

NALI functions as a language institute, offering training and university credit to participants. The 1988 Institute was held in Tempe, Arizona, with a theme of "Strengthening Native Languages through Unity and Commitment." This theme, combined with the fact that the Indian people of Arizona were in the process of trying to defeat the "English Only" movement, produced a unique atmosphere. The result was the creation of a resolution which has come to be known as SJ Resolution 379 of the 100th Congress.

SJ Resolution 379 sailed through the Senate without any dissension. However, the resolution failed to be introduced in the House and, therefore, failed in the 100th Congress. Fortunately, it has been re-introduced in the 101st Congress. Needless to say, this resolution will require the support of as many concerned Indian people and organizations as can be mustered.

During this time of constant pressure placed on all peoples to deal with the realities of the proponents of the "English Only" movement, NALI finds it an absolute necessity to reaffirm its position concerning the languages of indigenous Americans. We must move forward with great speed and urgency to protect, preserve, and promote our rights to use, practice, and develop Native American languages.

We, the NALI Executors, are certain that all indigenous peoples, having mutual respect, concerns, and interests, will be strengthened by our unity and collective efforts. The 1990 Institute will be held again in Oklahoma. Anyone interested in the survival of native languages is invited.

NALI Board of Executors

Shirley Brown, Harlene Green, Doris Beleele, Patricia Locke, Carl Downing, Glenda Barrett

Appendix B
About the Contributors

Elizabeth Biscaye is a Chipewyan-Dene born in a small community of Fort Resolution in the Northwest Territories of Canada. She has been actively involved in the preservation of aboriginal languages in the North. She received academic training in education and linguistics and holds a permanent teaching certificate. She has taught elementary school, worked with the Territorial Government's Language Bureau as an Interpreter/Communicator, and been the Bureau's Manager of Professional Services. She is currently Director of the Territorial Government's Language Bureau and is responsible for the management and development of programs designed to provide interpreting, translating, and public information services in all nine official languages of the Northwest Territories. She has served on the task force on Aboriginal Languages, the Chipewyan Working Committee, and the Canadian National General Standards Board on developing interpreting facilities. She is also a member of the Chipewyan Literacy Project.

James Crawford is author of Bilingual Education: History, Politics, and Practice (Crane Publishing, 1989) and former Washington editor of Education Week. He has also been the congressional editor for the newspaper, Federal Times. He currently working on a source book on the official English controversy for the University of Chicago Press and living in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Dr. David Davison is Professor of Mathematics Education and Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Eastern Montana College (EMC) in Billings, Montana, U.S.A. He has been at EMC for the past twelve years with responsibility for preservice and inservice courses for elementary and secondary mathematics teachers. Prior to coming to EMC he worked as a public school mathematics teacher and professor of mathematics education in Australia. His primary research interest is in language applications in mathematics, both in language majority and language minority classrooms. In particular, he has given many conference presentations and has written a number of articles on the teaching of mathematics to American Indian students and has consulted with a number of school districts on solving the problems of teaching mathematics to Indian students.

Dr. John W. Friesen is Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Administrative Studies at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, and Editor of the Multicultural Education Journal. He is a consultant on the Stoney Language Project.

Dr. Lois A. Hirst is Associate Professor of Education at Northern Michigan University at Marquette, Michigan, U.S.A. She spent twelve years on the Havasupai Reservation in Arizona as a teacher and school administrator. She presently teaches in t he Educational Administration Program.

Clarice Kootenay is a member of the Stoney Tribe in, Alberta, Canada, a student at Athabasca University, and a translator with the Stoney Language Project.

Dr. William Leap is Associate Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington, D.C., U.S.A. He pioneered the field of Indian English research. He has been active in Indian bilingual education since 1974 and has written numerous articles on the subject. He is currently completing a book on Indian English.

Dick Littlebear is a Northern Cheyenne educator, linguist, and author who served as the regional representative for Interface Education Network. He is currently director for the Alaska (Bilingual) Multi-functional Resource Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and Western Representative for the National Association for Bilingual Education.

Dr. Sonia Manuel-Dupont is Assistant Professor of Communicative Disorders and English at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, U.S.A. She has worked with Native American communities for the past ten years and is currently involved in a research project on Ute English and literacy patterns among adolescent Northern Utes.

Duane Mark is a member of the Stoney Tribe in Alberta, Canada, a student at Athabasca University, and a translator with the Stoney Language Project.

Rangi Nicholson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Maori Studies at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand. As a Winston Churchill Fellow he gave two presentations at the International Native American Language Issues Institute in Billings, Montana in 1985. His major research interests include Maori language courses for adults, spirituality as an important dimension in tribal language learning, and tribal-based language policymaking and planning. He is a member of several church and tribal councils.

Mary Pepper is currently employed by the Language Bureau, Department of Culture and Communications, Government of the Northwest Territories in Yellowknife, Canada. She received her M.A. in linguistics in 1986 from the University of Calgary and h er B.A. in anthropology in 1980 from the University of Western Ontario. She has been involved in the field of Amerindian linguistics for the last ten years, working with speakers of Oneida, Ojibwe, Delaware, Cree, Slavey, Dogrib, and Gwich'in. She is currently a member of the Gwich'in Working Committee of the Dene Standardization Project.

Dr. Jon Reyhner is Assistant Professor of Language and Early Childhood and Native American Studies at Eastern Montana College in Billings, Montana, U.S.A. He has worked with students in tribally controlled and public schools from seven different tribes over the past nineteen years. Most recently he was Assistant Director for Academic Programs at Rock Point Community School in the Navajo Nation. He has written articles on Indian education, edited Teaching the Indian Child: A Bilingual/ Multicultural Approach (Eastern Montana College, 1986 & 1988), co-edited Teaching the Native American (Kendall/Hunt, 1988), and co-authored A History of Indian Education (Eastern Montana College, 1989). He is currently working on a third edition of Teaching the Indian Child for the University of Oklahoma Press.

Dr. Christy Slavik is Assistant Professor of Education at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, U.S.A. She is interested in the whole language approach to teaching language arts and reading.

Dr. Barbara Walker is Chair of the Department of Language and Early Childhood Studies at Eastern Montana College in Billings, Montana, U.S.A. Last year she supervised a reading clinic on the Crow Indian Reservation. She has continued her interest in cross cultural studies and exceptionalities since her undergraduate experience in Third World countries. She is an author of a textbook on the diagnostic teaching of reading.

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