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The Taos News: NM delegation introduces bill to improve tribal education

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with Reps. Ben Ray Luján, Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Steve Pearce have introduced legislation to improve tribal education and preserve Native American language in schools.

Graduation rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives are less than 50 percent — lower than all other ethnic groups. The Building Upon Unique Indian Learning and Development (BUILD) Act would remove barriers tribal leaders often encounter in teaching Native languages at school, improve on existing programs and partnerships, and create new incentives to encourage educational success throughout Indian Country.

“Our bill takes many positive steps to improve Indian education, including reauthorization of the Esther Martinez Act — legislation I originally helped pass to honor one of New Mexico’s strongest advocates of preserving Native heritage and language,” said Udall, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in a prepared statement. “Native students deserve schools that honor their unique language needs so they can create a new generation of tribal leaders, and I am proud to lead efforts in proposing solutions for our communities that have contributed so much to the diversity and history of our nation.”

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