Fifty years after the U.S. Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act (CRA), Native Americans continue to fight for the right to remain an Indian (Lomawaima & McCarty, 2006) against a backdrop of test-driven language policies that threaten to destabilize proven bilingual programs and violate hard-fought language rights protections such as the Native American Languages Act of 1990/1992. In this article we focus on the four Rs of Indigenous language educationrights, resources, responsibilities, and reclamationforefronting the inherent sovereignty of Indigenous peoples in language education decision making. Drawing on our work together and our individual long-term ethnographic work with Native American communities, we present three case studies that illuminate larger issues of language rights, resources, responsibilities, and reclamation as they are realized in these communities. We conclude by reflecting forward (Winn, 2014) on language education possibilities and tensions, 50 years out from passage of the CRA and more than 500 years out from the original Indigenous-colonial encounter.
Office of Civil Rights
Native American and Alaska Native Children
Heritage and Indigenous Language Programs
Civil Rights Legislation