American Anthropological Association Statement on Language Rights

(adopted January 1996)

WHEREAS there are currently before the United States Congress bills that would restrict the rights of people to use their native languages; and

WHEREAS similar bills at the state level have already been found unconstitutional by federal courts; and

WHEREAS the American Anthropological Association supports human rights, among which we include language rights;

NOW THEREFORE the American Anthropological Association supports the rights of all people to use and to develop their cultural and linguistic resources as they see fit;

AND FURTHER, urges Congress to pass legislation that will provide opportunities, not only for the mastery of English, but for the development of other languages spoken in our communities, and will respect linguistic rights among fundamental human rights, and will recognize that the development of our diverse cultural and linguistic resources enriches our national heritage and the lives of our citizens.