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Native language immersion bill moves forward

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MISSOULA -

Senate Indian Affairs Committee passed legislation to strengthen and preserve native languages.

The Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act creates a grant opportunity for tribes to establish native language immersion programs. 

“Preserving Native languages will keep students connected with their culture and heritage,” said Tester, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.  “This bill will limit overhead costs that often keep tribes and schools from establishing Native language immersion classes and will ensure the survival of these historic languages.”

Roughly there are 148 remaining Native languages still spoken in the U.S. Within 50-100 years they run the risk of extinction according to the committee. 

Under the Department of Education, the act would create $5 million in grants per year for five years. Tribes, tribal organizations, tribal colleges and universities and local education agencies are eligible to qualify. 

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