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Reclaiming Muscogee Creek: Building a Foundation for a Future in Language Revitalization

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Throughout the course of the Honors Thesis/Creative Project, the intent was to gain knowledge regarding national, state and community initiatives regarding Indigenous Language Revitalization and Maintenance (ILRA). For over a year, I had the opportunity to visit a total of

Throughout the course of the Honors Thesis/Creative Project, the intent was to gain knowledge regarding national, state and community initiatives regarding Indigenous Language Revitalization and Maintenance (ILRA). For over a year, I had the opportunity to visit a total of five indigenous communities, including Pine Ridge, SD, Gila River Indian Community, AZ, White Mountain Apache, AZ, Cochiti Pueblo, NM and Santo Domingo Pueblo, NM. The goal was to learn about the status of their language, current ILRA initiatives as well as challenges and successes that face American Indian nations. During each visit, key elements to successful language revitalization initiatives were identified that could benefit those continuing their effort to reverse language loss as well as those looking to enter in the field of language revitalization.

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2014-12

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Landscapes of school choice, past and present: a qualitative study of Navajo parent school placement decisions

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This study examines the contemporary school placement decisions of Navajo parents in the reservation community of Piñon, Arizona. School placement decisions are defined as the school where the parent chooses to enroll his/her child for schooling. Twelve Navajo

This study examines the contemporary school placement decisions of Navajo parents in the reservation community of Piñon, Arizona. School placement decisions are defined as the school where the parent chooses to enroll his/her child for schooling. Twelve Navajo parents participated in this qualitative study, which explored their past educational experiences in order to garner insight into the current school placement choices they have made for their children. Navajo parents who live within the community of Piñon, AZ who currently have school-aged children living in their household were recruited to participate in this study. Participants took part in 60- to 90-minute interviews that included questions related to their prior educational experiences and current school placement choices for their children. Parents were given an opportunity to reflect about the school placement decisions they have made for their children. The variety of schools Navajo parents are able to choose from were illuminated. These findings have implications for education decision makers by providing insight into which schools parents are choosing and why. The study will assist Navajo Nation policy makers in future educational planning, and may have more general implications for American Indian/Alaskan Native education. This may assist Navajo Education policy makers in making future decisions regarding the newly developed Navajo Department of Education and its education planning. Participants will also benefit from the study by being able to understand how the past has impacted the school placement choices they have made. In doing so parents may be better able to articulate the impetus behind the choices they make for their children, thereby becoming better advocates for themselves and their children. The results of this study impacts scholarly literature as a new viewpoint in the area of school choice. Navajo parents represent a distinct group who make educational choices within a specific context. This study is unique as the impact of historical Indian education policies is considered. Future studies can further expand on the topic creating a unique area of research in the field of Indian education.

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Date Created
2011

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Dynamic assessment of narratives among Navajo Head Start children

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Purpose: Over-identification of Navajo Head Start children into special education on the Navajo Reservation has come to the attention of Tribal leaders, Educational leaders, and parents due to the use of invalid assessment measures. Dynamic assessment (DA) of narratives

Purpose: Over-identification of Navajo Head Start children into special education on the Navajo Reservation has come to the attention of Tribal leaders, Educational leaders, and parents due to the use of invalid assessment measures. Dynamic assessment (DA) of narratives may be a tool for distinguishing language differences from language disorders. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the Predictive Early Assessment of Reading and Language (PEARL), a dynamic assessment of narratives, accurately classifies Navajo Head Start students with typically developing (TD) language or with language impairment (LI), and to examine which measures best predict children’s overall performances on the PEARL.

Method: Ninety, 4- and 5-year-old Navajo preschoolers with LI and with TD language were selected. Children completed the PEARL, which measured both language comprehension and production using pretest and posttest scores, and a modifiability scale. In addition, children completed the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamental, Preschool, Second Edition (CELF – Preschool 2) and language samples. A Navajo Speech Language Pathologist confirmed the diagnosis of the participants. Research assistants pretested, briefly taught the principles of narrative structure (story grammar, language complexity and episode) and evaluated response to learning using an index of modifiability.

Results: Results of discriminant analysis indicated that PEARL pretest differentiated both ability groups with 89% accuracy. In addition, posttest scores discriminated with 89% accuracy and modifiability scores with 100% accuracy. Further, the subtest story grammar was the best predictor at pretest and posttest, although modifiability scores were better predictors of both ability groups.

Conclusion: Findings indicate that the PEARL is a promising assessment for accurately differentiating Navajo preschool children with LI from Navajo preschool children with TD language. The PEARL’s recommended pretest cut score over-identified Navajo children with TD language; therefore, a new recommended cut score was determined.

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2017