English, yes — Navajo, no

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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.

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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.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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