Teachers looking for budgets

The US education system is complex. Education is the responsibility of individual states, and with 50 states, that means a wide variation in how language revitalization programs are handled both because of state language policy as well as budget availability. Nevertheless, there is a national Department of Education and funding is provided from time to time for national educational policies. Additionally, the Administration for Native Americans provides funding for projects.

The most successful method of teaching a language is considered to be immersion, where only the language being taught is used in the classroom. Setting up an immersion program for an endangered language not only requires establishing a curriculum, but often creating textbooks as well, costly ventures that states may not be willing or able to fund.

In the “Treasure State” of Montana, it was hoped that the state would provide money to fund immersion programs for three languages, Gros Ventre, Salish and Blackfeet (Blackfoot). The bill did not even pass out of committee, however, as noted in the Billings Gazette article Tribal-language teaching struggles. (Salish perhaps refers to what the Ethnologue refers to as Kalispel-Pend D’oreille.)

Last year, the national government stepped up to the plate and passed the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act (text / PDF of bill) to provide funding for immersion programs. Fort Belknap, home of the Gros Ventre and the Assiniboine (language: Assiniboine) tribes, has applied for a grant under that act. Perhaps this funding will provide the budgets educators need.

The Native Languages of the Americas website offers some glossaries of Gross Ventre, and a dictionary is underway as shown on the legacy site for the “Plains Center“. Gros Ventre and Assiniboine (noted as Nakota/Nakoda) classes are available from Fort Belknap College. A small glossary of Salish words with sound files is available from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes site. The Native Languages of the Americas website offers language links including a few short glossaries and one to The Blackfoot Dictionary of Stems, Roots, and Affixes.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: