indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Health Coverage for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
Native language act ready for Bush's signature
Friday, December 8, 2006

A bill named in honor of a Native language teacher who died after receiving a national award for her efforts finally cleared Congress this week.

H.R.4766, the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act, was approved by the Senate last Wednesday night. With prior approval from the House, the bill now goes onto President Bush for his approval.

Introduced earlier this year, momentum for the legislation to create Native language programs picked up after the tragic death of Esther Martinez. The 94-year-old language instructor and storyteller was killed on her way home to Ohkay Owingeh, a pueblo in northern New Mexico.

The September 16 accident occurred just days after Martinez received the National Heritage Fellowship award in Washington, D.C. She had been honored for her role in teaching Tewa to generations of students.

"Considering Esther's dedication to preserving her Native language, it is a fitting tribute that this legislation be named after her," said Rep. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico), whose district includes the six pueblos where Tewa is spoken.

Martinez was known by her Tewa name, Poe Tsawa, which means Blue Water. Among her former students, both young and old, she was simply referred to as Ko'o, or Aunt.

Supporters of the legislation said the work of people like Martinez will continue through additional funds for language nests, survival schools and restoration programs. The money will be handled by the Administration for Native Americans within the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Native languages continue to diminish with each generation and the programs authorized by this bill will go a long way to restore this important piece of Native culture and bridge the gap between the old and young generations," said Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota).

Tribal leaders and organizations worked feverishly this fall to get the bill passed. The National Indian Education Association brought Navajo Code Talkers, the World War II soldiers who used their language to create an unbreakable code, to the U.S. Capitol to lobby for the measure.

"The outpouring of letters, calls, faxes, and emails to members of Congress made an incredible impact and demonstrated Indian Country’s huge support for the revitalization of Native languages," the organization said in a statement.

Tex Hall, the chairman of the Board of the Inter-Tribal Economic Alliance and former president of the National Congress of American Indians, also hailed passage. "I hope that laws like this one help America to really understand just how much of a treasure our Native American cultures are," he said.

Appropriations for the programs are guaranteed through 2012 but an exact amount is not specified in the bill. Rep. Heather Wilson (R-New Mexico), one of the sponsors, said she would ask the White House to increase funding for the ANA, whose budget has remained level at $44 million in recent years.

Native Languages Bill:
Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act (H.R.4766)

2006 National Heritage Fellowships:
Bio: Esther Martinez | List of Recipients

Related Stories:
San Manuel Band hopes to save Serrano language (12/05)
Navajo Code Talkers lobby for Native language bill (11/14)
Dictionary to help preserve Han Athabaskan language (11/07)
Gathering celebrates Oklahoma tribal languages (10/24)
Celebration of Oklahoma Indian Language and Culture (10/19)
Eastern Band translates new book into Cherokee (10/03)
Tulalip Tribes lose last Lushootseed speaker (10/03)
Opinion: English comes first, not Native languages (9/27)
Esther Martinez language act up for House vote (09/25)
Man arraigned for crash that killed Pueblo storyteller (9/22)
Hundreds pay tribute to Pueblo storyteller, linguist (9/21)
Man charged with death of Pueblo storyteller (9/20)
Funeral for Esther Martinez set for Wednesday (9/19)
Esther Martinez, linguist and storyteller, dies at 94 (9/18)
Montana tribe uses technology to preserve languages (09/01)
House committee holds field hearing on languages (09/01)
House committee to hold field hearing on languages (08/30)
Oklahoma tribes work to preserve languages (08/29)
Pueblo woman keeps Tewa language, culture alive (08/28)
Eastern Cherokee Band to buy language translators (08/28)
Opinion: Native language preservation can't wait (8/28)
Pueblo woman wins National Heritage Fellowship (06/16)
Native languages slowly losing fluent speakers (7/28)
Arapaho elders certified to teach language (7/19)
Library of Congress to publish Zuni language works (7/13)
Eastern Cherokees work to preserve language (7/13)

Copyright © 2000-2006 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Cronkite News: Navajo Nation school works hard to teach language (5/22)
Harlan McKosato: DNA tests can't reveal your unique tribal history (5/22)
Gyasi Ross: Fired FBI director made sure Peltier remained in prison (5/22)
Tiffany Midge: A response to winning the cultural appropriation prize (5/22)
André Cramblit: Treasure your aunties and uncles for their histories (5/22)
Treaty tribes celebrate after court refuses to rehear salmon dispute (5/22)
Top Interior nominee contradicts Trump on 'race' and tribal programs (5/19)
Arne Vainio: Expressing gratitude for the people we have around us (5/19)
Lawmakers dug deep to help North Dakota with #NoDAPL response (5/19)
Quapaw Tribe secures EPA grant for cleanup of contaminated lands (5/19)
Steven Newcomb: The racist and toxic roots of federal Indian policy (5/19)
Indian Country braces for worst with Trump's planned budget cuts (5/18)
Bipartisan task force announced to look into Indian Health Service (5/18)
Lawmakers push to renew Special Diabetes Program for Indians (5/18)
Albert Bender: Police slaughter of Native people rages unabated (5/18)
Steve Russell: There's a downside to impeaching Donald Trump (5/18)
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe cannabis consultant goes on trial (5/18)
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe repays money to address federal audit (5/18)
House passes bill to extend federal recognition to Virginia tribes (5/18)
Kalispel Tribe using bottled water at casino after contamination (5/18)
Leech Lake Band wins approval to build new casino at new site (5/18)
Tohono O'odham Nation secures victory in long-running dispute (5/17)
Dakota Access seeks to intervene in Oglala Sioux Tribe's lawsuit (5/17)
Senate Committee on Indian Affairs approves 3 bills at meeting (5/17)
Indian Health Service and 'high risk' tribal programs on agenda (5/17)
Bureau of Indian Affairs designates service area for Tejon Tribe (5/17)
Ruth Hopkins: Taxpayers footing $15M bill for DAPL private army (5/17)
Matthew Fletcher: Expect litigation after Supreme Court decision (5/17)
Alex Jacobs: Trump is starting to act like he's guilty of something (5/17)
Yakama Nation spars with county official over road resurfacing (5/17)
Spirit Lake Nation suspends referendum on liquor sales at casino (5/17)
Court supports release of $380M in Keepseagle settlement funds (5/16)
Indian Country leaders testify about funding needs on Capitol Hill (5/16)
House panel sets hearing on future of Cobell buy-back program (5/16)
Cronkite News: Navajo Nation homes still without running water (5/16)
Tribes unite in signing declaration against Keystone XL Pipeline (5/16)
Agua Caliente Band puts name on minor league basketball team (5/16)
Wampanoag tribes rebury remains of ancestral leader Massasoit (5/16)
Ramapough Lunaape Nation told to take down anti-pipeline camp (5/16)
Passamaquoddy Tribe wins award for addressing climate change (5/16)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.