- The Native American ESL student
- A Native American leader
- Miss Utah Navajo
- Preserving the Navajo language
MY BLOG: Understanding why
When I first heard about American Indian languages being endangered or extinct I didn’t understand how that could happen. Don’t American Indian parents teach their native language to their kids just like parents of other races? It’s not that simple.
First, some American Indian parents face the task of teaching their children two languages, their native and also English. They realize that it is important for their children to learn English to have better working and educational opportunities later in life. Plus, English is the primary language used in most schools, so the children must learn it to excel in school.
Second, the task of teaching children two languages is very difficult for some American Indians because they may not speak one of the languages well enough to feel comfortable teaching it. The dominant language spoken in the home is often the one passed on to the children and the other is sometimes never learned by the children.
I feel that some American Indian languages are becoming extinct because it is necessary for most American Indians to learn. I do not feel, however, that needing to learn English is a reason to not learn another language. American Indian languages are unique and beautiful and they mean so much to the people and culture.
More needs to be done to make sure that both English and American Indian languages are being taught in schools, both on and off the reservation. This may be a little more challenging for younger children, but in the long run they will be rewarded. Many studies have shown that students who speak more than one language often excel in analytical, social and literacy skills. Many junior high schools and high schools across the nation already require a second language study, giving American Indian children a head start.
The Multilingual Children’s Association has some great information about the pros and cons of raising a child in a multilingual environment. The pros greatly outweigh the cons, though.
I am a journalism student at the University of Utah. I intend to graduate with a B.A. in journalism and a minor in Portuguese in the fall of 2009.
My interest in journalism began when I realized how much I love to debate, chat about and play sports. I am a huge sports fan. I love to play and watch basketball, golf and baseball. I have told myself that I will never be a reporter unless it is related to sports in some way. But, through reporting on other issues I have come to realize that I enjoy learning about people in general, their experiences and beliefs.
I do not consider myself to be an excellent writer. I’m still learning, but isn’t every writer? I feel I am able to bring a lot of fresh ideas to the news world in regards to sports. I have always tried to look beyond the obvious. It makes me sick to read an article about a game or sports issue where the writer has done nothing but state the obvious. I’m always looking for something deeper. What is the story behind the story? Who has been affected the most? Who was the unsung hero?