Esther Martinez Act Passes the Senate #06-070

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Fri Dec 8 20:50:53 UTC 2006

From: Teresa McCarty <Teresa.McCarty at>

Esther Martinez Act Passes the Senate  #06-070

Please see below.  This is extremely welcome (and overdue!) news about the
latest amendments to the Native American Languages Act.  Some version of
these amendments has been in the works for more than 6 years, and many, many
educators, linguists, community members, and other advocates have gone back
and forth to DC to provide Congressional testimony over the years.  The
amendment adds programs and the promise of additional funding for language
survival schools, language nests, and additional language restoration
initiatives.  The National Indian Education Association was a major force in
all of this, along with the tireless efforts of colleagues across the
country.  You can see from the list of ³thank you¹s² just how many folks it
took to pull this off ‹ and there were many more behind the scenes.

This is news to celebrate!


Teresa L. McCarty, Ph.D.
Alice Wiley Snell Professor of Education Policy Studies
Arizona State University
Mary Lou Fulton College of Education
Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Farmer Building 120 - PO Box 872411
Tempe, AZ 85287-2411
PH: 480.965.6357  FAX: 480.965-1880
Teresa.McCarty at


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! The bill, introduced by Representative Heather Wilson
(R-NM) and co-sponsored by Representatives Rick Renzi (R-AZ), Tom Udall
(D-NM), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Mark Udall (D-CO), Charles Taylor (R-NC) and
Madeleine Bordallo (D-GU), passed in the House of Representatives on
September 27th, 2006 on the suspension calendar with broad bi-partisan

H.R. 4766 provides assistance to on-going Native American language
restoration efforts through a currently authorized Native language grant
program at the Administration for Native Americans at the Department of
Health and Human Services. Three additional grant uses, language survival
schools, language nests, and language restoration programs, will be eligible
for grant funding in the current program under this bill.

NIEA would not have been able to accomplish this tremendous task without the
help of many people, organizations, and tribes. NIEA would like to thank the
membership for their overwhelming response to our many requests for support.
The outpouring of letters, calls, faxes, and emails to members of Congress
made an incredible impact and demonstrated Indian Country¹s huge support for
the revitalization of Native languages.

NIEA would also like to thank Native Code Talkers, Clarence Wolf Guts
(Lakota), Samuel Tso (Navajo), Keith Little (Navajo), Merrill Sandoval
(Navajo), and Peter MacDonald (Navajo), for their effective advocacy in
sharing their stories and experiences with the NIEA family and members of

NIEA thanks the immediate past NIEA presidents, Ryan Wilson and Dr. David
Beaulieu, for tirelessly championing this issue throughout Indian Country
and in Washington, D.C.

NIEA also is deeply appreciative of the hard work and tireless efforts of
our friends in Washington, D.C., including Representatives Heather Wilson
(R-NM), Rick Renzi (R-AZ), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Buck McKeon (R-CA), George
Miller (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), Charles Taylor (R-NC),
Thomas Petri (R-WI), Stephanie Herseth (D-SD), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Raul
Grijalva (D-AZ), Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), John McCain (R-AZ), Pete
Domenici (R-NM), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Tom Coburn
(R-OK), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and
especially staffers Kimberly Teehee, Whitney Rhoades, Robert Cushing, Sarah
Jones, Lauren Gibbs, Alice Johnson Cain, Sarah Garland, John Tahsuda,
Allison Binney, David Mullon, Rhonda Harjo, Brandon Ashley, Charles
Galbraith, Tracy Hartzler-Toon, Karen McCarthy, Nathan Bergerbest, Rick
Dearborn, Michael Schwartz, and Brian Treat.

NIEA also relied on a number of friends representing tribes and
organizations to lend support, including Jacqueline Johnson, Joe Garcia,
Amadeo Shije, Gil Vigil, Greg Smith, Daniel Little, Keith Harper, Armand
DeKeyser, Robert McGhee, Gordon Kenny, Scott Dacey, Don Pongrace, Kathy
Brodie, Danna Jackson, Michael Rossetti, and Mark Van Norman.

Lastly, NIEA expresses its deepest gratitude to Debbie Ho and the team of
Ietan Consulting, LLC for their tremendous hard work and resolute dedication
to making sure the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Act becomes

Thank you EVERYONE for your support and commitment on this bill and special
thanks to all of the elders, parents, teachers, and students who have shared
your stories, challenges, successes and are ensuring that our Native
languages remain vital and spoken throughout our communities.


NIEA Board of Directors and Staff
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