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Revitalizing Indigenous Languages


Knowing that I'm particularly interested in the education of Native American children as well as children from immigrant families, one of my colleagues here at Education Week drew my attention to the fact that Sven Haakanson, an advocate of the revitalization of the language and culture of Alutiiq people in Alaska, has received a $500,000 award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. (See an article in the Anchorage Daily News about the award.)

Mr. Haakanson is an Alutiiq and a trained anthropologist who educates the public about his people as the executive director of the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak, Alaska, according to a description of him on the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Web site.

Let me use this opportunity to say that while the mission of this blog is to keep readers up to date on how schools are helping children to learn English, I also am interested in highlighting efforts by educators and others to help children to maintain, revitalize, or improve their native languages.


The National Association for Bilingual Education will be running a pre-conference institute in Tampa, FL on February 6 on Indiginous Bilingual Education as part of the effort to protect Indigenous languages as well as enhance English language learning. The rest of the conference runs from Feb 6 to 9.

Your readers interested in this field may want to attend to learn more about the progress that has been made by Indigenous people in preserving and strengthening their traditions, languages and cultures as educational advantages to enhancing academic success. Various models, programs, teaching methods, research strategies and best practices will be presented.

Additional information at: http://www.nabe.org

Please let readers know that the Call for Papers for this event is open until September 30th, so if they have results or information they want to present, here is an excellent oppportunity to do so.

Long story short: At the point that my daughter had been living in the US for 3 years, I was concerned about her possibly having a learning disability. The special ed staff who tested her stated that she was having difficulty learning in English only classes because I take her to a Russian tutor once a week for an hour. Is there any evidence in the research that states that this could harm my daughter's education? I felt continued exposure to her language and culture was important for her sense of identity as a Russian-American.

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