Equity & Diversity Collection

Preserving the Mother Tongue

Many Native American communities in the United States have lost, or nearly lost, their indigenous languages. And little is happening in most public schools—or in Native American homes—to bring those languages back.

A recent U.S. Department of Education survey found, for instance, that 39 percent of 4th graders and 40 percent of 8th graders who consider themselves to be Native Americans receive no exposure to a language other than English at home, and 3 percent or less of such students have teachers who report frequently using a Native American or Alaska Native language to teach core subjects.

Still, some Native Americans are fighting to preserve the vitality of Native languages. Edweek.org has pulled together a collection of articles exploring those efforts.