Rep. Ben Ray Lujan pushes to continue native language programs

Posted at: 02/18/2013 7:36 AM
By: The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Efforts aimed at preservation of Native American languages would continue with the help of federal funding under legislation introduced by New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan.

The New Mexico Democrat says his bill would reauthorize the Esther Martinez Native Languages Preservation Act for another five years.

The original legislation was brought by former Republican Congresswoman Heather Wilson in honor of a Tewa storyteller and linguist who was known for her life's work of preserving her native language and traditions.

Annual funding through the act has ranged from $3 million to $5 million. With Lujan's legislation, funding would continue through 2017.

Lujan says language is an essential part of the history, culture and way of life of tribes in New Mexico and across the country. His bill has several co-sponsors.

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