May 25, 2011

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to Hold Hearing on native Language & Culture-Based Education

Washington D.C. –
U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) will chair an oversight hearing tomorrow to examine the current trends and achievements in Native language and culture-based education. The hearing, “In Our Way: Expanding the Success of Native Language and Culture-Based Education,” will highlight efforts to meet student and Native community needs through education. The hearing will also review recommendations for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
“The students participating in Native language and culture-based education are able to share in the knowledge and traditions of their ancestors while being empowered with the tools to combat contemporary challenges,” said Senator Akaka. “This hearing will advance the important discussion on the value of these programs as well as possible next steps to advance Native language and culture-based education.”
In Hawaii, a number of Hawaiian language-immersion schools have flourished in recent years, with graduates attending top universities. Native language and culture-based schools in other states across the U.S. are accomplishing similar feats. According to the National Indian Education Association, approximately 300 distinct languages were once spoken in what is now the United States. Today, all of the less than 175 Native languages that survive are seriously endangered.
Contact: Jesse Broder Van Dyke
Contact Phone: 202-224-7045
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