Alaska Native Languages Preservation and Enhancement Act of 1991: Hearing Before the Select Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Second Congress, First Session, on S. 1595 to Preserve and Enhance the Ability of Alaska Natives to Speak and Understand Their Native Languages, October 19, 1991, Anchorage, AK.
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1992 - Foreign Language Study - 128 pages
This Senate hearing received testimony expressing the concern that Alaska Native languages are dying, and suggesting ways to stimulate and improve Native language instruction in schools and community settings. The director of the Alaska Native Language Center (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) provided information about the history of suppression of Native languages in Alaska schools. Of 20 Native languages, only Central Yupik and St. Lawrence Island Yupik are still spoken by children. Village and tribal elders, chiefs, teachers, students, and parents discussed the following issues: the loss of cultures as children cannot speak with grandparents; the shared childhood experience of being punished in school for speaking Native languages; the need to train fluent Native speakers as language teachers and then pay them and treat them as professionals; the possibility of allowing Native languages to substitute for "foreign" languages in the curriculum; the need for Native language instructional materials; the importance of allowing Native peoples to design school language programs; and suggestions for community programs of language and culture. All witnesses supported proposed federal legislation to fund: construction of language facilities, community language programs, programs to train Native speakers as teachers, production of instructional materials, programs to train Alaska Natives to produce Native language television and radio programs, and efforts to record and preserve Native languages. Appendices contain letters supporting S. 1595, lists of the status of 20 Alaska Native languages, and instructional materials available in Yupik. (SV)
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