Active Grants in Native Languages – Esther Martinez Immersion

Administration for Native Americans

Mission Statement

Esther Martinez Immersion

Oneida Nation (WI) - $279,597

Project Description: The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin aims to expand the capacity of language immersion programming for the Tehatiwanakhwa? Language Nest (TLN) by increasing student proficiency of the Oneida language, increasing instructional hours and number of staff, and increasing cultural connectedness by parents and families of students enrolled in the program. At the end of the five-year project, language nest students, ages 3 -8 years old, will increase their proficiency of the Oneida language by three steps as measured by the Oneida Language Proficiency scale.  Language nest instructional staff will increase their abilities in Oneida pedagogy by three steps as measured by the CREDE-ECE standards for effective Indigenous pedagogy.  Language instruction will be offered to parents through online learning to help foster language acquisition in the home and community. Parents of students will increase overall well-being through bimonthly engagement in language next activity by two levels as measured by the cultural connectedness scale (CCS). .. Presently, only 2 fluent speakers remain and are between 55 and 65 years of age.  By focusing on students, parents, and teachers learning the language, this project will reinvigorate the Oneida language into the future.

Bdote Learning Center, Inc. (MN) - $299,682

Project Description: The Bdote Parent, Staff, and Alumni Language (PSAL) project was developed with a goal of improving the language immersion environment for Bdote students by increasing the language capacity of Parents, staff, and alumni (8th grade graduates) ultimately resulting in a more immersive school experience and greater student language fluency in Dakota and Ojibwe.  . Currently the community is in dire need of coordinated efforts to enhance language immersion practices for adult learners. While immersion instruction is offered to students grades K-8, there is minimal support for parents and staff interested in learning their native languages. By the end of the project, 100 caregivers, 27 BDOTE staff members, and 24 alumni will have increased their fluency levels based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) assessments. The project ultimately aims to foster a healthy and united community where Dakota and Ojibwe languages thrive.  Bdote is a K-8th grade immersion school in Minneapolis with 115 incoming students for 2020-2021 with approximately half the students in Dakota immersion and half in Ojibwe. 

Agwadeyesta Dogeh Inc. (NY) - $159,242

Project Description: Agwadeyesta Dogeh, Inc. will enhance the capacity of the language programming at the Seneca Nation of Indians’ Faithkeeper School. In order to better serve families, the project will offer instruction to students beyond age 6 in the classroom. Currently, the Faithkeeper School only has the capacity to serve students ages 3-6. Consequently, some of the students must attend a public school, losing many of their language skills. Agwadeyestah Dogeh will partner with the Faithkeeper School to certify two teachers in Montessori Elementary I/II for students ages 6-12, increase staff and students’ classroom language time, ongoing professional staff development, create 40 new age and culturally appropriate language resources, an obtain additional parent engagement. Ultimately, this project will bring the Faithkeeper School closer to their long term community goal of becoming a K-12 school that provides 100% of their instruction in the Seneca Language.

Sitting Bull College (ND) – $270,908

Project Description: Sitting Bull College will create a unique Lakota language infused alternative education teacher training pathway that facilitates the pilot of an infant/toddler immersion classroom, creating first language speakers in the Lakota language. There are currently no first language Lakota speakers under the age of 40 on the Standing Rock Reservation while the total number of fluent speakers is less than 2% of the total population, with little to no intergenerational language transmission.  This project will combine the existing childhood services programs of Lakhól’iyapi Wahóhpi Wičȟákini Owayawa (LWWO) and the Kampus Kids Learning Center (KKLC) to pilot the first  4 months to 2.5 years old  100% Lakota language immersion classroom that integrates instruction grounded in a Montessori style, project-based learning environment. As a result of successful implementation, the project will create first language speakers of the Lakota language for the first time in 40 years. It will bridge the gap between elder first language speakers and youth speakers of the Lakota language in order to ensure successful survival of Lakota into the future.