The sociolinguistic landscape in Native North America is defined by the combined realities of language loss and reclamation. In these contexts there is an overwhelming trend toward revitalization-immersion education undertaken in and out of school. The US Census data report 169 Native American languages spoken by 370,000 Native people; the Canadian Census data enumerate 240,815 Aboriginal people who report Aboriginal language conversational proficiency. An encouraging statistic in Canada has more Aboriginal people reporting Aboriginal language conversational proficiency than those reporting an Aboriginal mother tongue, indicating that increasing numbers of Aboriginal language speakers in Canada are second language learners. Pairing linguistic diversity with increasing urbanization and diaspora realities creates additional challenges for Indigenous revitalization-immersion education, as does the diversity of school systems that Native students attend. Public schools – by far the most common school type – tend to have few Native teachers and minimal or no Native language and culture content. Given this sociolinguistic, demographic, and educational profile, this chapter provides an overview of historical and contemporary Indigenous language policies and practices across regions and within the two nation-states. Key cases are highlighted. Despite the challenges, Indigenous peoples in Canada and the USA are finding creative ways to bring their languages into new domains and new generations through Indigenous bilingual and revitalization-immersion education.
- Indigenous education
- Aboriginal languages
- Native American languages
- Language revitalization
- Immersion education
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McIvor, O., McCarty, T.L. (2016). Indigenous Bilingual and Revitalization-Immersion Education in Canada and the USA. In: Garcia, O., Lin, A., May, S. (eds) Bilingual and Multilingual Education. Encyclopedia of Language and Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02324-3_34-1
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