Adopted by LSA members in an online ballot, April 4, 2011.

Whereas the Linguistic Society of America is the world's largest scholarly society devoted to the development of the science of linguistics and the study of the world's languages, and so is committed to the preservation of linguistic diversity; and

Whereas Native American languages represent a priceless American inheritance, a unique conceptualization of the world and the human experience, an irreplaceable window into the linguistic and cognitive processes of the mind, and an embodiment of biological, religious, historical, cultural, and traditional knowledge; and

Whereas these languages are in sufficiently precipitous decline to constitute a true state of emergency, with more than half of the remaining languages in danger of losing their last speakers by 2015, as noted in the draft Draft Executive Order on Native American languages (PDF); and

Whereas Native American language communities have long recognized the immense cultural value of their languages and the need to preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage, and have been working for decades to document, preserve, and revitalize their languages, but with few resources and little support; and

Whereas immediate and effective support of community efforts is essential to ensure the continued vitality of these languages; and

Whereas it is the policy of the United States government to support the preservation and revitalization of Native American languages and the community programs which ensure their transmission, as stated in the Native American Languages Acts of 1990 and 1992, and the Esther Martinez Act of 2006; and

Whereas the promise of these acts has yet to be realized through the commitment of appropriate resources by the United States government;

Therefore, the Linguistic Society of America resolves to exhort the President of the United States of America to sign the Executive Order on Native American Language Revitalization and ensure the subsequent implementation of the policies and procedures outlined therein; and

Be it further resolved that the Linguistic Society of America urges the United States government to take immediate executive and legislative actions to ensure continued funding of the NSF/NEH Documenting Endangered Languages Program, the language-related programs supported by the Administration for Native Americans, and other federal programs that support the efforts of Native American communities to preserve and revitalize their languages and to transmit them to future generations.

Approved unanimously by Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation (CELP) membership February 25th, 2011.

Approved unanimously by the Executive Committee of the LSA March 4, 2011

Letter sent to US President Barack Obama (PDF)

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