Executive Order on Native Language Revitalization

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The National Congress of American Indians
Resolution #PHX-16-013

TITLE: Executive Order on Native Language Revitalization

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, through its unique relationship with Indian nations and tribes, the federal government has established programs and resources to meet the educational needs of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, residing on and off their reserved or non-reserved homelands; and

WHEREAS, all surviving Native American languages are severely endangered, with more than 90 percent of Native languages at risk of becoming extinct by 2050; and

WHEREAS, funds to support Native language revitalization efforts from current sources are insufficient; and

WHEREAS, NCAI has a standing resolution (ABQ-10-021) declaring Native languages in a state of emergency and supporting an Executive Order on Native American Language Revitalization; and

WHEREAS, Native language remain in a state of emergency – with 70 of our remaining 139 spoken languages posed to become extinct within the next 20 years; and

WHEREAS, since passage of ABQ-10-021, the outgoing Administration has not adopted an Executive Order or Native American Language Revitalization.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians requests the new Administration within the first year in office to issue an Executive Order to strengthen and support the ability of Native peoples to effectively engage in Native language revitalization; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that such an Executive Order would highlight the importance of Native languages and take critical steps to: identify federal action that could be taken to support, revitalize, and protect Native languages; create an interagency working group to help coordinate efforts to support Native languages; and empower a board of advisors to engage leaders on Native languages from across the country; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.


The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2016 Annual Convention of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Phoenix Convention Center, October 9 to October 14, 2016, with a quorum present.