Language Planning in Southeast California Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2686 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Native Americans

Lina Chong #6270585383


Final project: Language planning in Southeast California

Introduction/Issue Focus

Bilingual education inevitably involves teaching academic content in two languages. While most people think of immigrants learning the English language, the fact that Native Americans are commonly raised with English as their second language is rarely considered by policy makers. However, the same issues apply in bilingual education for Native Americans as for other groups. Advocates for such programs in the Native American communities in California have found as an engine for their programs in the oil resources that discovered in the South Mojave Reservation tribal territories.

In this advisory report, we will advise on our findings to Governor Jerry Brown for and against the project. Surprisingly for many of us, there are both pros and cons indicating whether or not such efforts would bear fruit. While Structured English Immersion is the law of the land in California, the tribal lands enjoy sovereignty. This status has been strengthened in the recent by the governor's office, as we will discuss later in the briefing. Therefore, there is a need for solutions on the reservations on the part of self-governing federal recognition groups (and sometimes nonrecognized tribes). State support and the funding sources for bilingual efforts on tribal lands are limited given the English immersion policy in California schools.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Language Planning in Southeast California Assignment

Essentially, the Hacama tribe of the South Mojave Reservation has linked the issue of their bilingual education efforts to those of other tribes in the state. They are requesting bilingual education for all Indian groups in California, not just their own group. Finding a solution for a statewide program is complicated by 2 factors. First, the recession has prompted cuts in funding for all state educational programs, so money will not be coming from existing funding sources. Secondly, the funding can not come simply from the oil drilling in the South Mojave Reservation. After all, the request for funding that the hacama are making is for all of California's Native American tribes. They do not see this as coming from their coffers, but that of the state. For this reason, part of the committee report will be looking at the Brown administration's favorable stance on gaming for other tribes as a possible fix to the funding problem. Also, the thorny problem of assuaging other state minorities who will not be recipients for such state support for bilingual communities in their communities will also be discussed.


Pro-Bilingual Education

Historical comparisons rarely reveal little valuable information with regard to pro-bilingual education. They made their way into a much less demanding economy that did not require high skill. As Samuel Betances remarked in the California School Boards Journal, Germans in Pennsylvania could speak to the corn in their fields in German and no one thought differently. There was a high 94% drop-out rate, but a low drop-out problem. Dropping out was not a problem, because the dropout could always find work. In more modern climes, a 30% dropout rate is a huge problem because even the most menial tasks require at least a high school diploma and maybe even some college. English is the lingua franca of today and without it getting that education is impossible (Betances 1-3). If this is true for Hispanic students for whom Spanish is their first language, certainly it is no different for Native American students who have come into an English speaking world speaking Navaho or Apache. They have a need to get the same access to desperately-needed education that is their ticket to a better life and out of grinding poverty.

Proposition 227

Given the information presented above, the basic law which affects the situation is Proposition 227. The main question is, what effect does this basic law have upon the subject of bilingual education in California? Historically, Proposition 227 was a California ballot initiative that was passed on June 2, 1998. The ballot effectively put an end to most bilingual education programs in the state (with some exceptions) and replaced them with the Structured English Immersion model. The bill's design was to educate Limited English Proficiency students in a fast-paced, one-year program. The bill was sponsored by Ron Unz, who was the runner-up candidate in the 1994 California Republican gubernatorial primary. Proposition 227 was controversial because of its close proximity to such heated political issues as race, immigration and poverty. The methodology of education that was enacted by Proposition 227 reflects the electorate's support of English immersion over multiculturalism. The proposition passed with a 61% of the vote. Structured English Immersion was then made the law of the land in California. While the legal counsel for the research committee does not believe that the law formulated by Proposition 227 forbids bilingual education on tribal lands, it would be problematic to provide funding for bilingual education from conventional state sources, such as a general tax levy for that purpose ("").

However, the bilingual education issue does not end here for California Native American tribes. The tribes on the Fort Mojave and other reservations have federal recognition, making them self-governing. The legal status of such tribes that have accepted federal protection and sovereignty and protection is covered under Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution. This vests Congress (and by extension, the Executive and Judicial branches of the federal government as well) with the authority for policy with the tribes. This placed the tribal associations within the constitutional fabric of United States foundational law. When the governing authority of tribes was first challenged in the 1830's, the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall set down the fundamental principle that has guided the evolution of federal Indian law to the present day: tribes are in the possession of a nationhood status and thereby retain inherent powers of self-government ("Intertribal Council of California, Inc.").

Given the budget crunch in the nation in general and in California in particular, the question has been raised about what will happen if other groups raise their voices for support for bilingual education from the state. Are the native Americans receiving special treatment? Tribal sovereignty ensures that any decisions about the tribes with regard to their property and citizens are made with their participation and consent (ibid). The federal agency therefore which will settle disputes over bilingual education on tribal lands is the Bureau of Indian Education which is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. For the Bureau of Indian Education, bilingual education is one of its official school target areas in school restructuring in Bureau-operated schools ("Bureau of Indian Education Guidance Handbook for Schools in Restructuring" 58). State support for bilingual Indian education therefore is not analogous to other ethnic groups. This is based upon the special relationship that Native Americans enjoy with the federal government that ensures them self-governing status. As the Hicama on the South Mojave reservation are a federally recognized tribe on reservation land, the state's role is supporting a neighboring self-governing entity.

There could be a special oil drilling tax on the extracted oil to pay for this support, although this has been controversial in California in areas off of the reservations. It also might face legal challenge due to Proposition 227. For this, we can look at the experiences of Native American tribes in North Dakota and their present situation where they are using oil drilling to leverage economic benefits for their people. It should provide us with an excellent case study for our similar efforts in Southeastern California. For this purpose, we will examine New Town, North Dakota on the Fort Berthold reservation where the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation affiliated tribes are currently leveraging oil profits into improvements in tribal life, including roads and education. The oil boom on reservation lands has brought with it jobs, millions of dollars and also hope to the tribal members who have not previously had the necessities of life, including good education for their children. On the reservation in New Town, new schools and bilingual education programs have been funded due to the oil boom. The effects are dramatic in increasing the performance of bilingual students. For the North Dakota English Language Learner (ELL) students (Odden, Picus, Goetz, Aportela, and Archibald 94-95).

Funding for Other Tribal Groups

As noted in our introduction, it is hard to foresee as much enthusiasm for bilingualism for other tribes when the full extent of the tight financial situation of the state is understood. For this reason, it is necessary to consider other options to finance this, including gaming, at least on tribal lands ("Appeal Democrat"). Due to the controversy about gaming off of tribal lands, the committee recommends that Governor Brown consider moving forward with a tribal lands only option. He has already prepared the ground for this. To strengthen communication and collaboration between the California state government and Native American Tribes, the Governor issued Executive Order B-10-11

that established the position of the Governor's Tribal Advisor in the Office of the Governor. The position serves as… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Language Planning in Southeast California.  (2011, December 8).  Retrieved September 22, 2020, from

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"Language Planning in Southeast California."  8 December 2011.  Web.  22 September 2020. <>.

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"Language Planning in Southeast California."  December 8, 2011.  Accessed September 22, 2020.