This paper reports on findings from an interpretive policy analysis of the development and impacts of landmark federal legislation in support of Native American languages: the 1990/1992 Native American Languages Act (NALA). Overturning more than two centuries of federal Indian policy, NALA established the federal role in preserving and protecting Native American languages. Indigenous languages in the USA are currently experiencing unprecedented language shift. This shift is largely the result of past language education policy for Native Americans which included repressive policies intended to eradicate Native American languages. NALA as it supports and protects Native languages is a reversal of these past policies. Although some argue that NALA has come too late and is largely ineffectual (funding has been limited and most Native American languages are already in serious decline), others link NALA to the twin goals of enhanced tribal sovereignty and academic achievement. This is the first in-depth study that examines the development, implementation, and impact of this policy initiative.
Native American and Alaska Native Children
Heritage and Indigenous Language Programs