College Fund Research

Language Immersion Schools

January 1, 2003

This study, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, focused on Native American language immersion schools and projects, describes and analyzes Native Education for children and families. A people’s initiative, Native American language immersion encompasses educational practices and social development that lie outside the mainstream methods of language teaching, education, and socialization methods of American children. Native American language immersion programs are characterized by Native ways of knowing, learning, and indigenous knowledge. Native American organizers demonstrate a profound faith in the traditional Native grandparents’ role and their methods in language development, teaching, and learning. Curriculum content and context rely on the rich Native American knowledge bases and their eminent scholars — tribal elders and tribal land and resources. Language immersions activists and educators share two characteristics: fluency in tribal language and an unstoppable commitment and devotion to language preservation among children and youth.

Native American Language Immersion: Innovative Native Education for Children & Families

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