PUBLIC LAW 101-477 - October. 30, 1990
TITLE I --
NATIVE AMERICAN LANGUAGES ACT
SEC. 101. This title may be cited as the "Native American Languages
SEC. 102. The Congress finds that--
(1) the status of the cultures and languages of Native Americans is
unique and the United States has the responsibility to act together with
Native Americans to ensure the survival of these unique cultures and languages;
(2) special status is accorded Native Americans in the United States,
a status that recognizes distinct cultural and political rights, including
the right to continue separate identities;
(3) the traditional languages of Native Americans are an integral part
of their cultures and identities and form the basic medium for the transmission,
and thus survival, of Native American cultures, literatures, histories,
religions, political institutions, and values;
(4) there is a widespread practice of treating Native Americans languages
as if they were anachronisms;
(5) there is a lack of clear, comprehensive, and consistent Federal
policy on treatment of Native American languages which has often resulted
in acts of suppression and extermination of Native American languages and
(6) there is convincing evidence that student achievement and performance,
community and school pride, and educational opportunity is clearly and
directly tied to respect for, and support of, the first language of the
child or student;
(7) it is clearly in the interests of the United States, individual
States, and territories to encourage the full academic and human potential
achievements of all students and citizens and to take steps to realize
(8) acts of suppression and extermination directed against Native American
languages and cultures are in conflict with the United States policy of
self-determination for Native Americans;
(9) languages are the means of communication for the full range of human
experiences and are critical to the survival of cultural and political
integrity of any people; and
(10) language provides a direct and powerful means of promoting international
communication by people who share languages.
SEC. 103. For purposes of this title--
(1) The term "Native American" means an Indian, Native Hawaiian,
or Native American Pacific Islander.
(2) The term "Indian" has the meaning given to such term under
section 5351(4) of the Indian Education Act of 1988 (25 U.S.C. 2651(4)).
(3) The term "Native Hawaiian" has the meaning given to such
term by section 4009 of Public Law 100-297 (20 U.S.C. 4909).
(4) The term "Native American Pacific Islander" means any
descendent of the aboriginal people of any island in the Pacific Ocean
that is a territory or possession of the United States.
(5) The terms "Indian tribe" and "tribal organization"
have the respective meaning given to each of such terms under section 4
of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C.
(6) The term "Native American language" means the historical,
traditional languages spoken by Native Americans.
(7) The term "traditional leaders" includes Native Americans
who have special expertise in Native American culture and Native American
(8) The term "Indian reservation" has the same meaning given
to the term "reservation" under section 3 of the Indian Financing
Act of 1974 (25 U.S.C. 1452).
DECLARATION OF POLICY
SEC. 104. It is the policy of the United States to--
(1) preserve, protect, and promote the rights and freedom of Native
Americans to use, practice, and develop Native American languages;
(2) allow exceptions to teacher certification requirements for Federal
programs, and programs funded in whole or in part by the Federal Government,
for instruction in Native American languages when such teacher certification
requirements hinder the employment of qualified teachers who teach in Native
American languages, and to encourage State and territorial governments
to make similar exceptions;
(3) encourage and support the use of Native American languages as a
medium of instruction in order to encourage and support--
(A) Native American language survival,
(B) educational opportunity,
(C) increased student success and performance,
(D) increased student awareness and knowledge of their culture and history,
(E) increased student and community pride;
(4) encourage State and local education programs to work with Native
American parents, educator, Indian tribes, and other Native American governing
bodies in the implementation of programs to put this policy into effect;
(5) recognize the right of Indian tribes and other Native American governing
bodies to use the Native American languages as a medium of instruction
in all schools funded by the Secretary of the Interior;
(6) fully recognize the inherent right of Indian tribes and other Native
American governing bodies, States, territories, and possessions of the
United States to take action on, and give official status to, their Native
American languages for the purpose of conducting their own business;
(7) support the granting of comparable proficiency achieved through
course work in a Native American language the same academic credit as comparable
proficiency achieved through course work in a foreign language, with recognition
of such Native American language proficiency by institutions of higher
education as fulfilling foreign language entrance or degree requirements;
(8) encourage all institutions of elementary, secondary and higher education,
where appropriate, to include Native American languages in the curriculum
in the same manner as foreign languages and to grant proficiency in Native
American languages the same full academic credit as proficiency in foreign
SEC. 105. The right of Native Americans to express themselves through
the use of Native American languages shall not be restricted in any public
proceeding, including publicly supported education programs.
Sec. 106. (a) The President shall direct the heads of the various Federal
departments, agencies, and instrumentalities to--
(1) Evaluate their policies and procedures in consultation with Indian
tribes and other Native American governing bodies as well as traditional
leaders and educators in order to determine and implement changes needed
to bring the policies and procedures into compliance with the provisions
of this title;
(2) give the greatest effect possible in making such evaluations, absent
a clear specific Federal statutory requirement to the contrary, to the
policies and procedures which will give the broadest effect to the provisions
of this title; and
(3) evaluate the laws which they administer and make recom-mendations
to the President on amendments needed to bring such laws into compliance
with the provisions of this title.
(b) By no later than the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment
of this title, the President shall submit to the Congress a report containing
recommendations for amendments to Federal laws that are needed to bring
such laws into compliance with the provisions of this title.
USE OF ENGLISH
Sec. 107. Nothing in this title shall be construed as precluding the
use of Federal funds to teach English to Native Americans.
Approved October 30, 1990.