The Esther Martinez Act

In 2006, Congress passed Public Law 109-394 to amend the Native American Programs Act of 1974 to provide for the revitalization of Native American languages through Native language immersion and restoration programs. Under Esther Martinez, the Administration for Native Americans within the Department of Health and Human Services provides funding opportunities to assess, plan, develop, and implement projects to ensure the survival and continuing vitality of native languages. Although the Esther Martinez Act expired in 2012, the program continues to be funded through annual appropriations and members of the 114th Congress were quick to introduce legislation reauthorizing the law. In April 2015, Representative Lujan (D-NM-3) introduced H.R. 2174 into the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce to reauthorize appropriations until FY 2020. In the Senate chamber, Senator Udall (D-NM) introduced S. 1163 in April 2015, to reauthorize Esther Martinez through FY 2020. Although both bills were introduced in their respective chambers of Congress, they have yet to be passed accordingly.

To view NIEA’s informational document about the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act, please click here.