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Native language revitalization bill moves to full U.S. Senate

Feb 12, 2019

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, pictured here Feb. 2, 2019, at The Gathering, helped to introduce a bill to reauthorize a Native language revitalization measure. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and now moves to the full U.S. Senate. (Photo by Tripp J Crouse/KNBA)

A bill that supports the revitalization of Native American languages has moved to the full U.S. Senate.

According to a news release from Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, she and New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall introduced the bill (S. 256 Esther Martinez Native American Languages Programs Reauthorization Act) to improve a grant program that funds language learning.

Four tribes in Alaska currently receive funding from that grant program:

  • Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska;
  • Chickaloon Native Village;
  • Cook Inlet Tribal Council Inc.; 
  • and Yakutat Tlingit Tribes.

The bill also reauthorizes the Native American Languages Preservation Act through fiscal year 2024. It also makes it easier for smaller Alaska Native communities to receive funding for language revitalization.

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and now goes to the Senate.