The National Congress of the American Indian, along with a number of language rights and American Indian rights groups, is urging President Obama to sign an Executive Order on Native American Language Revitalization. The order was drafted after a meeting last year between senior White House Staff and representatives from Native American communities across the nation. If signed, it would strengthen the Native American Languages Act and the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act.
The order, the draft of which is viewable in full here, would create an Interagency Working Group on Native American Language Revitalization, mobilize the coordination of federal resources for language revitalization, and appoint a Presidential Board of Advisers on Native American Languages, among other advances. The draft also includes a statement of policy which acknowledges that past federal policies have lead to “the disenfranchisement and dire economic circumstance of Native peoples in America, and to the death of scores of Native American languages.”
The Linguistic Society of America’s Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation has embarked on a letter-writing campaign in support of the draft. A page on their website provides a sample letter supporters can email to the president, as well as a link to where the letter can be submitted.