Taŋyáŋ yahípi, welcome to this edition of the ANA Messenger. Our theme for this issue is native languages and cultures. We are highlighting several of our current grantee projects and a few recently ended ones that were visited by our impact evaluators. I am always inspired by the work and dedication of the grantee communities in revitalizing and maintaining our native languages, so please be sure to read the Grantee Highlights for inspiration or new ideas for language and cultural preservation projects in your community.
One particularly inspiring individual, who walked on in 2013, is Dr. Darrel Kipp, Blackfeet, Director of the Piegan Institute and founder of the Cuts Wood School in Montana. We know he counseled many native language advocates over the years not to wait, that the time to save our languages is now. We couldn’t agree more. I recall calling on Dr. Kipp to get his input on the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Act and he advised that this program would make it possible for many communities to realize their dream of having native language immersion programs available for their children and pledged his support. We want to thank Scott Thompson, Briana Wipf and Larry Beckner with the Great Falls Tribune, for allowing us to reprint their article on Dr. Kipp, so that those who didn’t get a chance to meet him get a sense of his contributions to our shared cause.
Last year, in the fall 2012 ANA Messenger, I announced the formation of the Administration for Children and Families Native Languages Workgroup, which has two objectives. The first objective is to better coordinate resources and share native language success stories across ACF funded programs such as the Office of Child Care and Office of Head Start. The second objective is to have a core team that can work on the purpose and goals of the interagency Native Language Memorandum of Agreement signed with the Department of Education’s White House Initiative on Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Education and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education in 2012. I am happy to report that the efforts of this team are beginning to bear fruit, and you can read more about it in the ANA Language Update for 2013.
ANA staff members have been busy in 2013 creating resources for potential ANA language applicants, such as the Grantee ANA Language Grantee Best Practices, and the technical assistance providers have coordinated various language webinars to highlight topics such as language proficiency assessment tools and successful strategies for teacher training. In addition we’ve joined together in language grantee calls and in the ANA Native Languages virtual community center. We are planning to do more of these activities in 2014, as well as looking for ways of making ANA grantee created resources more readily accessible, when appropriate, so that we can build on the wealth of language resources that have been created over the years.
Also in this edition are updates from the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs including HHS’s Interagency Council on Native American Affairs, as well as from ACF and other federal offices.
We are continually looking for ways to support the hard work you are doing, and as always I look forward to your feedback on how we are doing, and what would help you most.
Commissioner Lillian Sparks Robinson