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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide
 

Cross-Cultural Issues in

Alaskan Education Vol. I

PART V
LANGUAGE ISSUES

Languages bear within them the biases of their originators-their attitudes and values. So that if young people grow up speaking and learning in the language of their ancestors, then certain central components of their cultural heritage are absorbed by them automatically. If, on the other hand, a language emanating from some other culture becomes the primary language of young people, then their most important link with their own cultural past is broken, their cultural identity begins to weaken, and ultimately, perhaps, the attitudes and values cherished for many generations by their own people are supplanted by those of the alien culture by which the language was imposed.

-Bill Vaudrin

Language has been a central issue in rural Alaskan education programs for many years, but has just recently emerged as a focus for local influence and involvement in educational programs and as a means for revitalizing cultural identity. Bilingual education has evolved into a major political movement which has affected nearly all rural, as well as some urban schools in the state. Though the momentum for bilingual education has been sustained largely through political processes, a growing awareness and acceptance of the educational and cultural significance of indigenous language in the school has led to the development of numerous Native language programs with a variety of purposes and rationales. The following articles address the issues from different perspectives, but all point to a clearer understanding of the role of language and an increased use of indigenous languages, both directly and indirectly, in the educational process.

 

 

 

 

Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.

 


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Last modified October 7, 2008