Developed by the LSA Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) and approved by the LSA Executive Committee, April 2020. 

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) has since its founding been committed to the study and preservation of Native American languages and cultures and recognizes its indebtedness to Native American communities for advancing the scientific study of language through the sharing of time, talents, and cultural treasures, for which researchers have not always adequately or appropriately given recognition.

We as linguists are deeply concerned about the disturbances to cultural autonomy, sacred spaces, and traditional ways of living which will be impacted by the recent decision to revoke reservation status for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts, whose members have been actively engaged in revitalizing their Indigenous Wôpanâak language. Wôpanâak has a long and illustrious history in the US. The first English colonists settled in Wampanoag territory, and the 1663 translation of the Bible into Wôpanâak was the first Bible to be printed in the Americas. This rich written record has served as the basis for a language revitalization movement which has been a source of inspiration for Indigenous peoples across the US and the world. However, these efforts rely critically on the unity and supporting infrastructure associated with official tribal recognition.

The Linguistic Society of America hereby declares its support for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act (HR.312). With this statement we formally stand with Mashpee Wampanoag tribal members and the many tribal entities and Indigenous groups from around the world who continue in their efforts to preserve and protect traditional languages and lifeways.