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American Indian Education Knowledgbase

This KnowledgeBase archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.

The American Indian Education KnowledgeBase is an online resource to aid education professionals in their efforts to improve the education of American Indian students and close the achievement gap American Indian students have faced in public, Bureau of Indian Education, and other schools.

Task 2: Discover How American Indian and Indigenous Language Around the World Are Endangered

Guideline: About every two weeks, another of the world's languages dies, and is no longer spoken by anyone. The United States is one of the areas where this is happening, especially in Oklahoma and California, where the last speakers of many American Indian languages are very old. These languages represent vital links to the culture and identity of native peoples. There is increasing interest and effort in ensuring that native children continue to speak their heritage language.



Comanche Nation and Language

This Comanche Nation website focuses on Comanche history and language lessons. Their purpose: To change the direction of the Comanche language. That change is to restore the N?M? TEKWAP? as a living language once more and to take our language of heritage into the future. 



Declaring Native American Languages in a State of Emergency and Support for an Executive Order on Native American Language Revitalization

This National Congress of American Indians website offers a downloadable PDF of the passed resolution (ABQ-10-021), for Native American Language Revitalization in 2010.



Cultural Survival vs. Forced Assimilation: The Renewed War on Diversity

This 2001 article from the Cultural Survival Quarterly notes "that of the more than two million people who identify themselves as American Indians in the United States, only 361, 978 still speak one of the remaining 154 indigenous languages, and many of those are only spoken by the very old."

Enduring Voices: Saving Disappearing Languages

This National Geographic website explores disappearing languages. The website notes, "nearly 80 percent of the world's population speaks only one percent of its languages. When the last speaker of a language dies, the world loses the knowledge that was contained in that language. The goal of the Enduring Voices Project is to document endangered languages and prevent language extinction by identifying the most crucial areas where languages are endangered and embarking on expeditions to understand the geographic dimensions of language distribution, determine how linguistic diversity is linked to biodiversity, and bring wide attention to the issue of language loss."


What It Means To Be A Navajo Woman (Video)

In this 2010 TEDx video, Jolyana Bitsuie shares her journey becoming Miss Navajo Nation in 2001-2002. As a young girl, Jolyana remembers moving away from the Navajo culture during her formative years as a high school student in Phoenix, Arizona. Two days after winning Miss Navajo Nation, the tragedy of September 11th occurred. Tribal leaders asked Jolyana to bring encouragement and pride to the United States from the Navajo Nation.  So, she spent the next year representing the Navajo Nation across the United States. As Miss Navajo, Jolyana shared how she was the representation of her mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and communicated the importance of knowing who you are as an individual. Today, Jolyana teaches urban Navajos to keep their language alive, and be proud of their roots, in order to ensure the survival of Navajo language and culture.

When It's Gone, It's Gone

This 17-minute documentary was filmed and produced by the Norman (Oklahoma) High School Native American Club. As stated by the club, "it examines the dying languages of Native Americans through the eyes of our Elders."


*NEW video* Why Save a Language (2006)

More than half of the 300 indigenous languages of North America are now extinct. But a movement by Native peoples to resurrect and preserve these languages is thriving in many places around the continent. In this film, Native people from various tribes and languages discuss the heart wrenching loss of indigenous languages, and the importance of keeping what remains alive. An important film for any interested in linguistics, saving Native American Indian languages, and saving global languages.

A Native American Response: Why Do Colleges and Universities Fail the Minority Challenge?

This October 2006 paper is meant to challenge colleges and universities to improve recruitment and graduation rates for Native American Indian (i.e. American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian), students and to provide research and policy recommendations for state and federal programs.  These students are the least likely to attend and complete a university education. 

Russell Means - American Indian Reservations and Dying Languages

In this February 2011 video, American Indian Activist Russell Means cut his hair as a sign of mourning for the suffering of his people. In this video, he speaks about life on American Indian reservations, and about the importance of having a living language.

The contents of this website were developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and are intended for general reference purposes only. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education or the Center, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. Some resources on this site require Adobe Acrobat Reader. This website archive includes content and external links that were accurate and relevant as of September 30, 2019.