English, yes — Navajo, no

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


On election day, Arizona voters resoundingly passed an Engish-only ballot initiative that’s meant to kill bilingual education for the state’s many Latino schoolchildren. But the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports that the California millionaire who brought that state’s successful English-only initiative to Arizona, didn’t think about the consequences for Arizona’s large population of Native Americans.

Recent Must Reads

11/8 – Hopis vs. hippies

11/7 – Jews, Arabs genetically linked

11/4 – Death by lawyer

11/3 – Oops with nukes

The tiny fraction of Indian children who attend tribal schools won’t be affected, but the vast majority are in public schools. Some public elementary schools in Indian communities teach early grades in both English and the local Native American language to help kids become proficient in the native language, then phase into all English in higher grades. It’s an effort to protect and preserve Indian languages, some of which are in danger of vanishing entirely.

For some Arizona Indians, the passage of the initiative brings back memories of the time from the 1860s through the 1960s when Indian children were sent to government-run boarding schools and punished for speaking their native languages. “This is like history repeating itself,” said one Indian official.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate