Target: Mr. Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana
Goal: Commend bill that seeks to protect Native American languages and culture.
A wonderful new program that will protect the cultural histories and languages of 13 Native American tribes has just been undertaken in Montana. The program comes in the form of a bill recently signed into law that encourages schools to do two key things: create programs that teach about the culture of Montana’s native inhabitants and create immersion classes for their languages. This new push to protect cultures that the United States once fought to stamp out will never undo the harm that was done to the native peoples of this country, but hopefully it can help the healing process.
The bill was written by Native American lawmakers within the state and faced little resistance or criticism in its journey through the Montana State Legislature. Steve Bullock, the Governor of Montana, had some inspirational words at the signing of the bill, saying that language is more than just a grouping of words and phrases–it is an identity and a history. He went on to say that native identities and histories represent the entire state and not just its native peoples.
This program comes just in the nick of time as well. One lawmaker has said that if no steps are taken to preserve these languages, all first-hand speakers will have died in as little as fifteen years, essentially erasing the tongues from existence. Nothing will undo the damage that has already been done to the native inhabitants of the United States, but programs like this go a long way to helping them reclaim their identities and take pride in who, and what, they are. Please sign here to commend this bill and encourage other states to adopt similar ones.
Dear Governor Bullock,
It has come to my attention that your state has just passed a bill that will protect the cultural identities and languages of Montana’s native inhabitants. I am writing to personally thank you for ensuring these protections and attempting to help the wounds of the past heal.
As you said of the bill yourself, language is more than just a collection of words, phrases, and syntax. It is a cultural narrative, a history of what it means to be who you are, and I think this bill will go a long way to ensuring that the native peoples of your states are not forgotten. One lawmaker has said that if this action were not taken, in just 15 years all first-hand speakers of native languages would be gone and the languages would be lost.
Thank you for this great effort. I hope that you will not only seek to protect the cultural histories of Montana, but encourage other states to adopt similar programs going forward.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Public Domain