U.S. Senator Tim Johnson's (D-SD) legislation to reauthorize the Native American Languages Preservation Act was approved by the Indian Affairs Committee today. The Act, which expires at the end of this fiscal year, aims to reverse the dramatic decrease in the number of Native American languages that have survived over the years. The measure now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
"This is a law that has had proven success, and I am pleased that the Committee approved my bill to reauthorize it," said Johnson. "In addition to preserving languages that are so important to our history, studying languages improves our students' academic performance. I will continue to push until this reauthorization is signed into law."
According to the National Indian Education Association, by the year 2050, there may only be 20 Native American languages remaining. The Native American Languages Act allows for grants to be awarded to several different language survival programs. It has been shown that, in addition to the preservation of Native languages, this type of learning promotes higher academic success for students.