July 05, 2006

Native children need Native languages

Educators seek grants for language programsEnglish-only is not foreign to American Indians. Boarding schools of the 19th century attempted to eradicate the languages by requiring all students to speak English. But people spoke the language in their homes, and today the standard profile shows fewer than 100 language speakers in some tribes and very few with fluency below the age of 70, Kipp said.

Wilson said what is intriguing is the fact that students who attend language immersion schools compete better than those who attend traditional western academic programs.

"We can make a case that this [western education] has failed Indian country--why not look at alternatives to western styles? It is proven [western education] hasn't worked for our kids. The onus is on us as leaders to advance to the forefront to Indian education those sets of practices of learning styles."
Comment:  Clearly, we need more Native-themed reading products, including comic books. For one approach to the problem, see my Tribal Language and Cultural Preservation Proposal.

No comments: