Great Basin Native American Language

In the early 1980's, a committee was formed to work with the Nevada Department of Education and the Professional Standards Committee. They testified before the Nevada Legislature to approve the Great Basin Native American Language (GBNAL). The GBNAL Nevada Administrative Code allowed teaching of one of the four tribal languages (Northern Paiute, Southern Paiute, Washoe and Western Shoshone) in the Nevada public schools. Also, the GBNAL endorsement allows fluent speakers from the tribes indigenous to Nevada to be certified and to teach in the Nevada public school.

NAC 391.233  Endorsement to teach Great Basin Native American language; exception to teach without endorsement.(NRS 391.019)
1.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, to receive an endorsement to teach a course in a Great Basin Native American language, a person must:
(a) Have a high school diploma or its equivalent;
(b) Have completed 6 semester hours of course work that included, without limitation:
    (1) Professional education and teaching methodology; or
    (2) The study of Native American languages; and
(c) Be certified as a fluent speaker of the language that the person proposes to teach by:
    (1) A council of a tribe of Native Americans who speak that language; or
    (2) A qualified official of a university or college.
2.  An endorsement issued pursuant to this section:
(a) Is valid for 3 years.
(b) Is renewable.
(c) May be used only to teach the language set forth on the endorsement.
3.  An applicant for an endorsement issued pursuant to this section:
(a) Must submit with his or her application:
    (1) The applicable documents and fees required for initial licensure pursuant toNAC 391.045; and
    (2) Written documentation verifying the applicant's certification as a fluent speaker of the language he or she proposes to teach.
(b) Is not subject to the provisions of NAC 391.036.
4.  A person who does not possess the qualifications required by paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection 1, but does possess the qualifications required by paragraph (c) of subsection 1, may teach a course in a Great Basin Native American language without an endorsement issued pursuant to this section if a licensed teacher is present in the classroom during the instruction. Written documentation of the person's certification as a fluent speaker of the language he or she proposes to teach must be provided to the Department before the person may begin teaching.
    (Added to NAC by Comm'n on Prof. Standards in Education by R085-97, eff. 1-9-98; A by R087-97, 1-14-98; R102-17, 6-26-2018) 

How is the GBNAL being implemented currently?

Elevating Tribal Languages, Elevating Identity Project

The Project is a collaborative effort of NDE subject matter experts who understand the importance of bilingualism and multiculturalism in advancing equitable and just educational opportunities for Nevada's educators and students. Working directly with Tribal communities to elevate the importance and strength of Tribal languages, which are inseparable from Native culture and traditions and essential to Native identity, this initiative is one effort toward language preservation and revitalization, and to create a space for healing historical trauma. The Great Basin Native American language endorsement will be leveraged to deepen educator knowledge and to enrich instructional practices. The project aims to acknowledge and increase the number of Tribal language speakers as subject matter experts, and to increase the number of educators who are Native American. Ultimately, this initiative aims to improve quality in education and academic outcomes for Native American students and eventually to increase the number of Native American students who receive a Seal of Biliteracy. This project represents alignment of the goals and purposes of OIE, TIIA, NDE-STIP, and Federal level initiatives.

Learn more about the Elevating Tribal Languages Project Overview  

Washoe County School District:

The Washoe County School District (WCSD), in Reno, NV is one of the school districts that is integrating the Paiute language class into three of their schools: Spanish Springs High School, North Valley High School, and Reed High School. Other districts in Nevada are in the process of implementing the GBNAL language in their schools. The WCSD schools are using the Numu Yadooana book for instruction. The Numa Yadooana book is a joint effort of the WCSD, Title VII Indian Education Program and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Native Voices Language/Culture Program. Accordingly, the book acknowledges the significance of including language in increasing student achievement: In creating this native language course, it is our desire to enhance the learning abilities of the students who participate, not only in the Paiute language but in other subject areas as well (Numu Yadoona, 2011).