The American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding supports Tribes and Native organizations as they seek to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native American languages. Native American communities, including federally and state-recognized Tribes, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, experienced disproportionately higher rates of virus infection and loss of life due to COVID-19. The ARP funding helps 210 indigenous communities preserve their indigenous languages.
Please find more information regarding ANA's Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance supplemental grant award through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) on our press release here
Award Recipients Profile Highlights
Name: CHamoru Language Commission
Project Title: A Sustainable Framework for Teaching and Learning CHamoru Nina’fitmen i Fina’nå’gue yan Ineyak i Fino’CHamoru
Language: CHamoru Language
A Sustainable Framework for Teaching and Learning CHamoru Nina'fitmen i Fina'nå'gue yan Ineyak i Fino' CHamoru will create a sustainable framework for teaching and learning fluency and proficiency in CHamoru at home and at school. The CHamoru language is in tragic decline due to English-only American colonial practices implemented in the last century, scarce resources, limited coordination by educational institutions to address language loss comprehensively, the inconsistent implementation of legal mandates established to ensure CHamoru language continuity, and, finally, the loss of numerous first language CHamoru speakers due to COVID-19. Critically endangered, the CHamoru language, the last three U.S. Censuses conducted in Guam found that the use of CHamoru language shows continuous decline with fluent CHamoru speakers making up 26 % of the population of Guam in 1990 (34,598 CHamoru speakers, 133,152 total population) decreasing to 20% in 2000 (30,708 CHamoru speakers, 154,805 total population) to 16 % in 2010. By selecting four cohorts of 15 CHamoru teachers to become certified in immersion techniques and language arts pedagogy, having 60 families of students enrolled at the Chief Hurao Academy, the GDOE Immersion Program and CHamoru after-school programs, and supplying all, or approximately 150, CHamoru language teachers with standardized, age-appropriate and performance based curriculum guides, this project will enable a system of resources and guides to facilitate teaching and learning CHamoru in school and at home. Ultimately, the project seeks to build capacity, engage the language with an intergenerational approach, and develop a sustainable curriculum to transform classroom practice.
Name: Nondalton Village
Project Title: Nondalton Village Language Preservation Project
Language: Dena'ina, language
Location: Nondalton Village. Alaska
The Nondalton Village Language Preservation Project will preserve their native, Dena'ina, language by recording and transcribing elder’s stories and making the content available to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native American languages during and after the public health emergency, COVID-19. Nondalton Village is located near Lake Iliamna, 200 miles southwest of Anchorage. Nondalton is a remote and isolated traditional community accessible only by air and water. Currently, there are only an estimated seven elders left speaking the language fluently and few, if any, emerging speakers. No current language learning resources are available for use within the community except the Denaina dictionary by James Kari and talking to elders who are fluent. By hiring a Language Coordinator, recording and transcribing our language and stories with youth and elders, and developing an app, the project will develop resources and documentation (recordings and transcriptions) of the Dena'ina language through elder or intergenerational engagement. Though the project targets Nondalton Village Tribal Members, it will engage elders by enlisting them for language instruction, storytelling in the language, and speaker recordings. Ultimately, the project seeks to bring youth and elders together to record and transcribe stories making the language accessible.
Name: Bishop Indian Tribal Council
Project Title: Outreach and Education Program - Creating a Stronger Voice with Our Native Language
Language: Paiute and Shoshone language
Location: Bishop California
The Bishop Paiute Tribe will increase local use of the Paiute and Shoshone languages and develop a new language outreach and preservation plan through programs at the Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Cultural Center. Although the Cultural Center has been a communal space for gathering, honoring, and promoting the Paiute and Shoshone cultures, recent losses of more than 40 cultural bearers and 15 Paiute and Shoshone speakers during the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the Center’s need for language preservation initiatives. The Cultural Center will therefore add a space for digital language learning resources and archives and hire a Language Advocate who will develop a long-term Language Plan grounded in community research. These efforts will engage tribal community members of all ages with the Paiute and Shoshone languages and promote public outreach and partnerships with the general public. This project will lay the foundation for long-term language preservation and promotion programs which will continue to meet the needs and interests of the community while ensuring the survival of the tribal languages.
Name: The Poospatuck Cultural Foundation, Inc.
Project Title: Unkechaug/Algonquian Language Revitalization Project
Language: Unkechaug/Algonquian Language
Location: Long Island, New York
The Algonquian Language Revitalization Project will strengthen native language education programming for the Unkechaug Nation, a New York state-recognized Indian tribe who have designated the Poospatuck Cultural Foundation to implement it on their behalf. A UNESCO-designated critically endangered language, knowledge of Unkechaug remains highly limited in the Nation, with most remaining fluent speakers residing in Wisconsin and Canada. Travel restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and technological limitations have strained communication between these fluent speakers and language learners in the Nation, which has emphasized the need for accessible local educational materials. The project will combat this issue by developing a flexible multiuse curriculum for teaching Unkechaug in the classroom and at home along with training 11 new local language instructors over a three-year period. This effort will increase and improve learning opportunities for both youth and adults and will be a significant contribution to the Cultural Foundation’s larger goal of helping all Nation members attain conversational proficiency in Unkechaug.