Legislation aims to preserve native languages
Posted at: 09/14/2012 8:04 AM
By: The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Members of New Mexico's congressional delegation are pushing for the extension of a program that works to preserve Native American languages.
U.S. Reps. Marin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan and Steve Pearce introduced legislation on Thursday to reauthorize the Esther Martinez Native American Language Act for another five years.
The act provides grants to support language immersion programs. It's scheduled to expire at the end of the year. Pearce says native languages are a valuable part of New Mexico's culture and represent an important piece of the American story.
Since 2000, 390 grants worth nearly $50 million have been awarded through the program. The act was originally authorized in 2006.
It's named after a woman who taught the Tewa language at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo and helped develop language preservation strategies around the Southwest.
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