Native American Languages
Since 1983 (the year U.S.ENGLISH was founded by the late Senator S. I. Hayakawa of California) it has been the policy of U.S.ENGLISH to fully support the rights of Native Americans to preserve their heritage, culture, and language. Those rights are protected by the U.S. Constitution, as well as federal and state laws.
U.S.ENGLISH recognizes that Native American languages are in a unique situation. These languages were spoken by Native Americans before Europeans arrived on this continent. They are not spoken anywhere else in the world, and if they are not preserved, they will disappear completely. The autonomy of Native American tribes and communities also gives them a special status within the political framework of the United States.
Therefore, Official English legislation proposed by U.S.ENGLISH does not prevent the use of Native American languages by tribal governments and other autonomous Native American communities, such as Alaska Native villages. Furthermore, U.S.ENGLISH supports government funding for the study of Native American languages in order to preserve them for future generations.
In education, U.S.ENGLISH supports the right of tribal governments and autonomous Native American communities to make their native languages the primary language of instruction in their schools. At the same time, we believe that those schools should also teach students the English language so they can take advantage of the economic opportunities available in the United States.
Native American languages can peacefully coexist with Official English legislation. Just as Native Americans are striving to preserve their historic languages and cultures, U.S.ENGLISH is trying to preserve the historic language and culture of the United States of America. These goals are not in conflict, and U.S.ENGLISH stands ready to work together with Native Americans to ensure that their rights are protected.