"Mr. DASCHLE. Mr. President [Senate pro tempore], like the exhibits in the
new museum, the Dakota Letters illustrate in a powerful way that we do not
have separate histories, but we see the same history through different eyes.
This gift of being able to see our history from others' perspectives can
only help heal our Nation and make us stronger.
I believe strongly that the Federal Government, which had such a direct
hand, for so long, in efforts to destroy Native cultures, has a responsibility to help preserve these cultures not just on the National Mall in Washington, but in tribal communities throughout America. And we are making a start.
Next month, the first applications will go out for a new grant programs
for tribal museums. Under the Native American/Native Hawaiian Museum
Services Program, tribes can receive grants of up to $20,000 a year. The
museum program, and a similar program to support tribal libraries, are both
administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.
The Tribal Historic Preservation Program in the National Park Service gives tribes control of decisions about cultural preservation on tribal lands by establishing tribal historic preservation offices, just like State historic preservation offices.
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, passed in
1990, lays out a process to identify Native American sacred and funerary
objects and return them to their people.
In Sisseton Wahpeton, tribal elders and educators hope to use technology
to record translation sessions of the Dakota Letters and use the recordings
to teach the Dakota language. They also want to use distance learning to
teach Dakota history and culture lessons based on the letters. They can't do
that now because they have run out of money for the Dakota Letters project.
An amendment Senator Inouye is sponsoring to the Native American Languages Act might help the tribe finish the Dakota Letters project. It would provide additional resources for immersion schools and other intensive efforts to save Native American languages--which we are now losing at the alarming rate of one each month.
All of these efforts, and more, need and deserve the support of Congress."
For complete statement and related discussion -- go to:
http://thomas.loc.gov/ Click on: "Congressional Record" then, "This
Congress by date" then, "Senate -- September 21"