This post was republished and archived on April 23, 2019.

You may wish to copy and paste the text below into a letter to your senator or representative in support of S.256/H.R.912.

House Version

I am a resident of your district, and I urge you to support this very important piece of proposed legislation – H.R.912, the “Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Reauthorization Act.” As a member of the Linguistic Society of America, I view this proposal as an important step forward in support of Native American languages, the communities who carry them, and the youth who will benefit directly from this legislation.

My interest in and support of this legislation is unequivocal, as I recognize both the timeliness and the urgent need for action in light of the fact that fully half of the indigenous languages of the United States are in imminent danger of being lost to posterity. With more than ninety percent of these languages facing extinction by the end of this century, bringing this legislation to the floor for a vote is a high priority.

Scholarly research has shown that these indigenous languages are vitally important to the well-being of the Native communities who have spoken them for generations. Languages represent a key aspect of identity as a means for maintaining and transmitting culture and tradition to future generations. Linking this bill to improving academic achievement for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children is truly visionary in acknowledging those connections. Linguistic and cultural diversity has always been a key strength of the United States. Multilingualism has been the norm for most of human history, and the current linguistic shift to English is both a cause and an effect of massive social dislocation among Native American communities.

I urge you to support H.R.912, the “Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Reauthorization Act,” as a co-sponsor, and to vote for its swift passage through Congress.

Senate Version

I am a resident of your district, and I urge you to support this very important piece of proposed legislation – S.256, the “Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Reauthorization Act.” As a member of the Linguistic Society of America, I view this proposal as an important step forward in support of Native American languages, the communities who carry them, and the youth who will benefit directly from this legislation.

My interest in and support of this legislation is unequivocal, as I recognize both the timeliness and the urgent need for action in light of the fact that fully half of the indigenous languages of the United States are in imminent danger of being lost to posterity. With more than ninety percent of these languages facing extinction by the end of this century, passing this legislation is a high priority.

Scholarly research has shown that these indigenous languages are vitally important to the well-being of the Native communities who have spoken them for generations. Languages represent a key aspect of identity as a means for maintaining and transmitting culture and tradition to future generations. Linking this bill to improving academic achievement for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children is truly visionary in acknowledging those connections. Linguistic and cultural diversity has always been a key strength of the United States. Multilingualism has been the norm for most of human history, and the current linguistic shift to English is both a cause and an effect of massive social dislocation among Native American communities.

I urge you to support S.256, the “Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Reauthorization Act,” as a co-sponsor, and to vote for its swift passage through Congress.