Congress passes the Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act

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NCAI: Act provides tribal nations the critical resources needed to ensure Native languages continue to be spoken for generations to come

News Release

National Congress of American Indians

On December 9, in a voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act.

“The protection and preservation of our Native languages is crucial to the cultural identities and lifeways of tribal citizens and the overall sustainability of tribal nations,” said Kevin J. Allis, Chief Executive Officer of the National Congress of American Indians. “We are thrilled to see the House pass the Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act, which provides tribal nations the critical resources needed to ensure Native languages continue to be spoken for generations to come. We appreciate Representative Luján and Senator Udall’s tireless efforts to get this important legislation through Congress.” 

The passage of the Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act comes after the U.S. Senate passed the bill in June by voice vote.  

The act reauthorizes two Native American language programs until 2024 and expands eligibility for smaller-sized tribal nations by reducing classroom size requirements. In addition, the bill expands potential funding from three to five years for both programs. 

The Esther Martinez Native Languages Programs Reauthorization Act will now head to the President for his signature. 

To view the National Congress of American Indians’ resolution supporting this legislation, please click here. 

To view the National Congress of American Indians’ letter of support for this legislation, please click here. 

About the National Congress of American Indians:

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. The National Congress of American Indians advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. 

For more information, visit www.ncai.org.

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