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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 23, 2002 - Issue 55


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Idaho Students May Learn Indian Languages

Tribal Members from Southeast Idaho in the early 1900's
Tribal Members from Southeast Idaho in the early 1900'sBoise, ID - Legislation to allow the state and tribes to cooperate on the teaching of Indian languages in Idaho schools was introduced in the Senate on Friday.

"I think it's just a small piece of what we can do to work together for the state and for the tribes," said Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, a co-sponsor.

The bill was developed in the Indian Affairs Council, a committee whose membership includes state lawmakers and officials of Idaho's Indian tribes. It allows tribes to designate people who are qualified to teach their native language and allows a school district to have those individuals teach a class. The language teachers could not teach any other subject unless they obtained regular teaching certifications.

David Kerrick, lobbyist for the Nez Perce Tribe, told the Senate Education Committee, "We want to make a clear statement ... that as a state, we recognize that these languages are part of our heritage."

Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, also a cosponsor, said the bill is needed because experts in tribal languages may not be otherwise qualified to teach in Idaho schools under current laws. Under the bill, which will be assigned a bill number and get a full hearing in the coming weeks, the state Board of Education would make rules covering the details of the program.

Native Americans in Idaho

Boise, ID Map

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Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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