Language preservation help needed #06-068

Andre Cramblit andrekar at NCIDC.ORG
Fri Dec 8 03:32:11 UTC 2006

You may not have seen the latest news release but the language bill  
passed in the Senate  Dec. 6  and is on the way to the President for  
signature.  He has 10 days  once it is received in the White House to  
sign or veto so it is important to contact/write the White House.   
There is no time to write so you need to call, email, or fax the  
White House.

Contacting the White House

Mailing Address

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers

Comments:   202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX:             202-456-2461


Comments:      202-456-6213
Visitors Office: 202-456-2121
Please send your comments to comments at Due to the  
large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to  
every message. For further up-to-date information on Presidential  
initiatives, current events, and topics of interest to you, please  
continue to use the White House website.

Vice President Richard Cheney: vice_president at

 From NIEA:
National Indian Education Association
110 Maryland Avenue, N.E.
Suite 104
Washington, D.C. 20002
P: (202) 544-7290 / F: (202) 544-7293

December 7, 2006
Broadcast #06-070

H.R. 4766 is on the way to the President for signature!!!!

Last night (December 6th) at approximately 8:45pm, the Senate passed  
H.R. 4766, the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Act of 2006,  
by unanimous consent

National Indian Education Association
110 Maryland Avenue, N.E.
Suite 104
Washington, D.C. 20002
P: (202) 544-7290 / F: (202) 544-7293

November 30, 2006
Broadcast #06-068


NIEA is still working hard to pass the H.R. 4766, the Esther Martinez  
Native Languages Preservation Act of 2006 during the lame duck  
session. When Congress returned from the election recess, NIEA and  
Native American Code Talkers Samuel Tso (Navajo), Keith Little  
(Navajo) and Merrill Sandovil (Navajo) met with several Senate  
offices to discuss H.R.4766 and request removal of the current hold  
placed on the bill. We are asking for your help, particularly tribes,  
schools, educational groups, and religious organizations in Oklahoma  
to weigh in with Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) expressing your support of  
H.R. 4766 and requesting him to lift his hold. Congress will return  
from their Thanksgiving break on December 4th and are expected to  
adjourn for the year the same week so there is little time left to  
pass H..R. 4766 this session.

H.R. 4766 is a House bill that was introduced by Representatives  
Heather Wilson (R-NM) and Rick Renzi (R-AZ). Before Congress recessed  
at the end of September, the House of Representatives passed H.R.  
4766 on suspension on a bi-partisan basis. If Senator Coburn lifts  
his hold, then the Senate can pass the bill on the unanimous consent  
calendar when it re-convenes next week to wrap up its legislative  
business for the 109th Congress.

Essentially, H.R. 4766 would provide assistance to on-going heritage  
language restoration efforts through a current authorized  
discretionary Native language grant program at the Administration for  
Native Americans at the Department of Health and Human Services. This  
bill is needed to provide a focus on grants that help create Native  
language fluency as opposed to other kinds of language grants. The  
bill does not create a new program. Instead, it simply varies the  
uses of grant funds in a current program. Further, the bill does not  
alter English proficiency requirements contained in current law.  
Instead, the bill simply provides additional opportunities to  
preserve Native languages.

Please find below below a sample letter to send to Senator Coburn.

Senator Coburn’s office phone number is (202) 224-5754 and fax number  
is (202) 224-6008. Please fax a copy of any letters sent to (202) 
544-7293 so that NIEA can keep track of them.

November________, 2006

The Honorable Tom Coburn, M.D. United States Senate Washington, D.C.  

Dear Senator Coburn:

I am writing to urge your support for Senate passage during the lame  
duck session of H.R. 4766. This legislation, which would amend an  
existing Federal Native language program to provide a broader range  
of language training options, passed the House on the suspension  
calendar and is under consideration for passage by unanimous consent  
in the Senate. We understand that you have raised concerns about the  

Native languages are not spoken anywhere else in the world; and, if  
they are not preserved, then they will disappear forever.  
Unfortunately, Native American languages are disappearing at an  
alarming rate. Language scholars estimate that there were  
approximately 300 languages spoken in North America prior to the  
arrival of Columbus. Some project that only 20 indigenous languages  
will remain viable by the year 2050.

H.R. 4766 would help to preserve Native languages by allowing for  
increased opportunities for students, both young and old and Native  
and non-Native, to learn a Native language. The federal government  
should support the preservation of Native languages. After all,  
Native languages are one of the treasures of this country’s heritage  
and history. Native American languages have contributed to the rich  
fabric of what makes our country so great. For example, many states,  
cities, towns, streets, rivers, and other geographical places in our  
country are Native words. It would be a shame to continue to lose the  
languages from where these words are derived.

Also, another reason that the federal government should play a role  
in preserving Native languages is due to the federal government’s  
much-criticized assimilation policies in the 1950’s and 1960’s, which  
is one of the main reasons that Native American languages are dying  
out. During that time, the federal government followed a policy to  
eradicate Native languages by harshly forbidding the speaking of  
Native languages at Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. The architect  
of this policy summed up the policy as “Kill the Indian . . . and  
save the man.” Now these children are adults and have not taught  
their children their Native languages, given their experiences at  
these schools.

It is well-proven that individuals who participate in programs such  
as those provided for in H.R. 4766 realize many positive gains from  
learning a new language. Further, in learning a Native language,  
these individuals learn about the history of the community in which  
they live and gain a better appreciation for it.

I urge you to work for quick passage of this legislation in the lame  
duck session of the 109th Congress. Thank you for your consideration  
of this request.


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