Skip navigation
Timeline / Renewing Native Ways / 1990: Congress acts to promote, preserve Native languages

1990: Congress acts to promote, preserve Native languages

The U.S. Congress, which once tried to suppress and eradicate American Indian languages, reverses course by passing the Native American Languages Act. The legislation, which establishes a grant program, recognizes that these languages are unique and that the U.S. has a responsibility to work with tribes to recover the languages that are rapidly disappearing.

“The traditional languages of Native Americans are an integral part of their cultures and identities and form the basic medium for the transmission, and thus survival, of Native American cultures, literature, histories, religions, political institutions, and values ... ” —Native American Languages Act (P.L. 101-477)

Federal-Tribal Relations
Arctic, California, Great Basin, Great Plains, Hawai‘i, Northeast, Northwest Coast, Plateau, Southeast, Southwest, Subarctic