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Indian Affairs Makes Significant Investment to Protect and Preserve Native Languages

For Immediate Release:
June 15, 2022

                             $7 million in Living Languages grants awarded to 45 Tribes and Tribal organizations

WASHINGTON – Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland announced today that the Indian Affairs Office of Indian Economic Development has awarded $7 million in grants under the Living Language Grant Program to 45 American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and Tribal organizations.

The Living Languages Grant Program provides an opportunity for Tribes to receive funding to document and revitalize languages that are at risk of disappearing because of a declining native-speaker population. For more than 150 years, Native languages in the U.S. have been subjected to suppression and elimination from a variety of factors such as federal boarding and other types of schools that forced American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian children to forgo speaking the language of their peoples.

“Native language preservation has for many years been cited by Indigenous leaders as important to their self-preservation, self-determination and sovereignty. Native preservation and language revitalization is a critical priority because languages go to the heart of a Tribe’s unique cultural identities, traditions, spiritual beliefs and self-governance,” said Assistant Secretary Newland. “Through the Living Languages Grant Program and other interagency efforts, the Biden-Harris administration is working to invest in and strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship and ensure that progress in Indian Country endures for years to come.”

Native language preservation is a priority for the Biden-Harris administration and its all-of-government approach to strengthening and supporting Indigenous communities. During the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit in November 2021, the U.S. Departments of the Interior, Education and Health and Human Services launched a new interagency initiative to preserve, protect and promote the rights and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice and develop Native languages.

The program evaluated 59 applications, totaling $9.37 million in requests, to support Tribal programs that document Native American languages or build Tribal capacity to create or expand language preservation programs.

Grant proposals were rated on the extent to which funding would document, preserve or revitalize a Native language; the degree to which the language addressed by a proposal risks extinction; the likelihood that the instruction to be funded would revitalize the language by preventing intergenerational disruption; and the number of students or percentage of Tribal members the proposal would benefit.

While only federally recognized Tribes and Tribal organizations are eligible for the Living Languages Grant Program, grantees can retain for-profit and non-profit community groups to perform a grant’s scope of work.

The grantees and funding amounts announced today are:

  • Arctic Slope Community Foundation, Inc.: $172,026
  • Bois Forte Band of Chippewa: $86,241
  • Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska: $200,000
  • Chickaloon Native Village: $166,300
  • Chickasaw Nation: $199,997
  • Chippewa Cree Tribe: $180,100
  • Comanche Nation: $192,121
  • Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians: $161,150
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation: $82,396
  • Cow Creek Band of the Umpqua Tribe of Indians: $59,290
  • Delaware Nation: $198,996
  • Diné College: $60,189
  • Forest County Potawatomi Community: $155,718
  • Fort Belknap Community Economic Development Corporation: $199,680
  • Fort McDermitt Paiute-Shoshone Tribe: $121,299
  • Kashia Band of Pomo Indians of the Stewarts Point Rancheria: $199,686
  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Inc.: $200,000
  • Lummi Nation: $200,000
  • Manzanita Band of Diegueno Mission Indians: $129,337
  • Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe: $199,901
  • Modoc Nation: $199,854
  • Mohegan Tribe of Indians CT: $85,064
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation: $69,789
  • Nez Perce Tribe: $159,958
  • North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California: $192,371
  • Northern Arapaho Tribe: $169,649
  • Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation: $60,000
  • Omaha Tribe of Nebraska: $200,000
  • Pala Band of Mission Indians: $192,461
  • Puyallup Tribe of Indians: $139,931
  • Quapaw Nation: $72,000
  • Rosebud Economic Development Corporation: $168,793
  • Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan: $193,998
  • San Carlos Apache Tribal Council: $184,344
  • Santee Sioux Nation: $157,956
  • Santo Domingo Pueblo (Kewa Pueblo): $123,795
  • Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians: $106,554
  • Spirit Lake Tribe: $170,297
  • Tribal Government of Saint Paul Island: $172,328
  • Turtle Mountain Community College: $200,000
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe: $200,000
  • Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California: $138,230
  • Wichita and Affiliated Tribes: $198,364
  • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska: $81,134
  • Wiyot Tribe: $198,704

Questions about these awards may be addressed to Dennis Wilson, Division of Economic Development Grants Manager, Office of Indian Economic Development - Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, at 505-917-3235 or Dennis.wilson@bia.gov.

The Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs advises the Secretary of the Interior on Indian Affairs policy issues; communicates policy to and oversees the programs of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Bureau of Trust Funds Administration; provides leadership in consultations with Tribes; and serves as the DOI official for intra- and inter-departmental coordination and liaison within the Executive Branch on matters concerning American Indians and Alaska Natives and the federally recognized Tribes in the United States.  The Office of Indian Economic Development is located within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.

Indian Affairs’ Office of Indian Economic Development, formerly known as the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development, supports the economic development of American Indian and Alaska Native communities by offering access to capital through grant opportunities and loan guarantees, and by providing technical assistance to federally recognized Tribes. OIED administers the Living Languages Grant Program through its Division of Economic Development. For more information about OIED’s mission and programs, visit the OIED website.

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