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                                                        Calendar No. 30
                                                        
115th Congress      }                                     {    Report
                                  SENATE
 1st Session        }                                     {    115-23

======================================================================

 
  A BILL TO AMEND THE NATIVE AMERICAN PROGRAMS ACT OF 1974 TO PROVIDE 
 FLEXIBILITY AND REAUTHORIZATION TO ENSURE THE SURVIVAL AND CONTINUING 
                 VITALITY OF NATIVE AMERICAN LANGUAGES

                                _______
                                

                 April 4, 2017.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

           Mr. Hoeven, from the Committee on Indian Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 254]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Indian Affairs, to which was referred the 
bill (S. 254) to amend the Native American Programs Act of 1974 
to provide flexibility and reauthorization to ensure the 
survival and continuing vitality of Native American languages, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon, without 
amendment, and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 254 is to provide additional flexibility 
for and reauthorization of the Esther Martinez Native Languages 
Preservation Act, Public Law No. 109-394, a grant program that 
is administered by the Administration for Native Americans 
(ANA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

                         BACKGROUND AND HISTORY

History of key federal laws supporting Native American languages

    In 1990, Congress passed the Native American Languages Act 
(NALA). This law recognizes the unique status of Native 
American cultures and languages. According to the law, it is 
federal policy to ``preserve, protect, and promote the rights 
and freedom of Native Americans to use, practice, and develop 
Native American languages.''\1\ Further, NALA declares federal 
support for ``the use of Native American languages as a medium 
of instruction.''\2\ Congress recognized a number of reasons 
for encouraging instruction in Native languages, including 
language survival, community pride, improved educational 
opportunity, and increased student achievement.
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    \1\Native American Languages Act of 1990 [NALA], Pub. L. No. 101-
477, 25 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 2901-2906 (1990).
    \2\Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act of 
2006, Pub. L. No. 109-394, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2991b-3.
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    The Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation 
Act (NALPA), which amended the NALA, was signed into law in 
December, 2006. Named after Ms. Esther Martinez, a Tewa teacher 
and storyteller, the NALPA bolsters federal support for Native 
language education by creating and funding the following 
programs:
     Native American language nests are educational 
programs that provide instruction and childcare to at least 10 
children under the age of 7 and offer Native language classes 
to parents. Such programs use Native American language as the 
primary language of instruction.
     Native language survival schools are similar to 
language nests but have broader objectives. Located in regions 
with high numbers of Native Americans, these schools provide a 
minimum of 500 hours of instruction in at least one Native 
American language to at least 15 students. These schools aim to 
achieve student fluency in a Native American language alongside 
proficiency in mathematics, science, and language arts. 
Moreover, survival schools provide for teacher training and 
develop instructional courses and materials to advance Native 
American language learning and teaching.
    In addition to delivering instruction in one or more Native 
American language, these programs provide training to Native 
American language teachers and develop instructional materials 
for Native American language programs. Funds are given to 
restoration programs for a variety of activities that increase 
proficiency in at least one Native American language, such as 
language immersion programs, culture camps, Native American 
language teacher training programs, and the development of 
books and other media.
    During the 114th Congress, the Committee held one oversight 
and two legislative hearings on Indian education. At these 
hearings, the Committee heard from witnesses on the importance 
of Native languages and culture to the academic and social 
success of Native students.
    At an oversight hearing on May 13, 2015, the Bureau of 
Indian Education's witness highlighted the importance the 
agency, which is specifically tasked with American Indian and 
Alaska education, places on working with tribes to implement 
Native language programs that lead to fluency.\3\ At a 
legislative hearing on April 6, 2016, witnesses representing 
tribal governments, state governments, and nonprofit 
organizations each spoke on the importance of Native language 
preservation and continuation.\4\
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    \3\Bureau of Indian Education: Examining Organizational Challenges 
in Transforming Educational Opportunities for Indian Children Before 
the S. Comm. on Indian Affairs, 114 Cong. 43 (2015) (statement of 
Bureau of Indian Education witness).
    \4\Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on S. 2304, S. 2468, S. 
2580, and S. 2711, 114 Cong. 13-35 (2016) (statements of Sandra Boham, 
President, Salish Kootenai College, Hon. Carlyle W. Begay, Arizona 
State Sen., Patricia Whitefoot, Pres. National Indian Education 
Association).
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Preservation and maintenance and the Esther Martinez Initiative Grant 
        Program

    The NALA established the Preservation and Maintenance (P&M;) 
grant program within the Native American Programs Act of 1974 
to ensure the survival of Native American languages. The Native 
American languages grant program was last reauthorized by 
Congress through NALPA in 2006. The NALPA reauthorized the 
Native American language grant program and also expanded it to 
include the Esther Martinez Initiative (EMI) to support and 
strengthen Native American language immersion programs, 
including language nests, language survival schools, and 
language restoration programs. The NALPA authorization expired 
in 2012, but Congress has continued to fund the program through 
Appropriations Acts since then.
    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through 
the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), administers 
grant funding under the Native American Programs Act of 1974. 
Language maintenance grant funding provides opportunities for 
grantees to assess, plan, develop, and implement projects to 
ensure the survival and continuing vitality of Native 
languages. The ANA has also formed a Native Languages Workgroup 
to ensure the program is meeting ANA goals and providing 
technical assistance to grantees and potential grantees.
    In FY 2016, the ANA awarded a total of $12,370,802.72 of 
grant funding for Native American language grants to 166 
programs. Of that funding, EMI grantees received $3,141,298 and 
P&M; grantees received $9,229,504.72. In FY 2015, the ANA 
awarded a total of $13,064,963 of grant funding for Native 
American language grants to sixty-one different programs across 
Indian Country, of which $5,127,715 went to EMI projects and 
$7,937,248 went to P&M; grants.
    According to the ``2012 Impact and Effectiveness of ANA 
Projects Report to Congress'',\5\ the ANA evaluated 22 out of 
the 63 total language grantees' projects from across Indian 
Country. The 2012 impact data showed that from these 22 
projects a total of 178 language teachers were trained in 
teaching Native languages; 2,340 youth had increased their 
ability to speak a Native language or achieved fluency; and 
2,586 adults had increased their ability to speak a Native 
language or achieved fluency.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health 
and Human Services, 2012 Impact and Effectiveness of Administration for 
Native American Projects: Report to Congress (2012).
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    The 2014 Impact and Effectiveness report documented that 
the ANA had evaluated 61 language grantees from across Indian 
Country, approximately one third of all language projects 
funded.\6\ The 2014 impact data showed that from these 61 
projects a total of 285 language teachers were trained in 
teaching Native languages; 4,582 youth had increased their 
ability to speak a Native language; 91 youth had achieved 
fluency; and 3,334 adults had increased their ability to speak 
a Native language or achieved fluency.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \6\Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health 
and Human Services, 2014 Impact and Effectiveness of Administration for 
Native American Projects: Report to Congress (2014).
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Improvements to the current grant program

            Duration of grants
    During Committee legislative hearings held on June 18, 
2014, and November 18, 2015, the ANA stated that grantee 
interviews suggest that the duration of language grants from 
the current three-year time frame should be increased to up to 
a five-year basis.\7\ Commissioner Sparks further testified 
that, by expanding its authority to increase the duration of 
awards, projects will become more sustainable and yield 
increased results.\8\ The P&M; grants are currently awarded on a 
one-, two-, and three-year basis and EMI grants are awarded on 
a three-year basis. The bill, S. 254, reflects the feedback 
provided by grantees to the ANA and amends Section 803C(e)(2) 
of the Native American Program Act of 1974 to extend these 
Native language grants to up to a five-year basis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Legislative Hearing on S. 1948 and S. 2299 Before the S. Comm. 
on Indian Affairs, 113 Cong. 8-9 (2014) (statement of Lillian Sparks, 
Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans).; Legislative 
Hearing on S. 410, S. 1163, and S. 1928 Before the S. Comm. on Indian 
Affairs, 114 Cong. 6-7 (2015) (statement of Lillian Sparks Robinson, 
Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans).
    \8\Id.
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    According to the 2014 testimony provided by Commissioner 
Sparks, the ANA completed a preliminary analysis of the effects 
that this change would have on the number of grant awards made 
each year.\9\ Commissioner Sparks stated that she did not 
anticipate a significant decrease in total number of grants 
active each year but also noted that funding will shift from 
new project awards to awards for continuing projects as a 
result of this change.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\Legislative Hearing on S. 1948 and S. 2299 Before the S. Comm. 
on Indian Affairs, 113 Cong. 14 (2014) (statement of Lillian Sparks, 
Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Commissioner Sparks additionally testified that the ANA 
awarded an average of 16 new P&M; grants each year for a total 
active grantee pool of 40 any given time.\10\ For EMI grants, 
ANA awarded an average of six new grants per year for a total 
active grantee pool of approximately 18 at any given time. 
Commissioner Sparks estimated that new P&M; grant awards would 
decrease by approximately five projects per grant award cycle 
and new EMI grant awards would decrease by an estimated two to 
three projects per grant award cycle.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\Legislative Hearing on S. 1948 and S. 2299 Before the S. Comm. 
on Indian Affairs, 113 Cong. 9-11 (2014) (statement of Lillian Sparks, 
Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Commissioner Sparks further reported that an analysis of 
the effects of the grant period length on the project revealed 
that as the duration of the project increased, the impact of 
the project significantly increased.\11\ Therefore, 
Commissioner Sparks stated the ANA believes increasing the 
duration of years will increase the number of individuals 
achieving fluency, the number of teachers trained, and the 
chances of a project's sustainability. Commissioner Sparks also 
stated that extending the length of the grants would allow 
grantees more time to find supplemental funding to support 
their program once the grant awards expire.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \11\Id.
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            Language nests and survival school student minimums
    During the November 18, 2015, Committee hearing, 
Commissioner Sparks stated that grantees have requested that 
the criteria for student minimums be lowered.\12\ By lowering 
the requirement for language nests from 10 to 5 students and 
for survival schools from 15 to 10 students, Commissioner 
Sparks testified that more projects would be eligible in lower-
populated and remote areas. This bill would amend Section 
803C(b)(7) of the Native American Program Act of 1974 to lower 
the requirement for the minimum number of children in language 
nests from 10 to 5 children and lower requirement for the 
minimum number of children in survival schools from 15 to 10 
children.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Legislative Hearing on S. 410, S. 1163, and S. 1928 Before the 
S. Comm. on Indian Affairs, 114 Cong. 6 (2015) (statement of Lillian 
Sparks Robinson, Commissioner, Administration for Native Americans).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    Senator Udall introduced S.254 on February 1, 2017 with 
Senators Murkowski, Franken, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Schatz, and 
Tester as original cosponsors. On March 1, 2017, Senator Van 
Hollen joined as a cosponsor. The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Indian Affairs. On February 8, 2017, the Committee 
met at a duly called business meeting to consider the bill. The 
bill was ordered to be reported favorably, without amendment, 
to the Senate by voice vote.
    On February 16, 2017, Representative Ben Ray Lujan 
introduced H.R. 1169, a companion bill in the House of 
Representatives with 24 Democratic and Republican cosponsors. 
The bill was referred to the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce of the House of Representatives. No further action 
has been taken.
    During the 114th Congress, Senator Udall introduced an 
identical reauthorization bill, S. 1163, on April 30, 2015, 
with Senators Murkowski Franken, Heinrich, Heitkamp, Schatz and 
Tester as original cosponsors. The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Indian Affairs. On November 18, 2015, the 
Committee held a legislative hearing on the bill. On May 11, 
2016, the Committee met at a duly called business meeting to 
consider the bill. The bill was ordered to be reported 
favorably, without amendment, to the Senate by voice vote.
    The House of Representatives also considered an identical 
bill, H.R. 2174, during the 114th Congress. Representative Ben 
Ray Lujan introduced that bill on April 30, 2015, with 
Representatives Young, McCollum, Tom Cole, Grijalva, Honda, 
Pearce, Ruiz, and Roybal-Allard as original cosponsors. 
Representatives Huffman, Lujan Grisham, and Adam Smith were 
added as cosponsors between May, 2015, and September, 2015. The 
bill was referred to the Committee on Education and the 
Workforce of the House of Representatives. No further action 
was taken.
    In the 113th Congress, Senator Johnson of South Dakota 
introduced a simple NALPA reauthorization bill, S. 2299. 
Senators Murkowski, Begich, Franken, Heinrich, Hirono, King, 
Schatz, Tester, and Udall were original cosponsors. Senator 
Walsh joined as a cosponsor on May 14, 2014. The bill was 
referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs. On June 18, 2014, 
Committee held a legislative hearing on the bill.
    On July 30, 2014, the Committee met at a duly called 
business meeting to consider the bill. Senator Johnson of South 
Dakota offered two amendments, which were both adopted. The 
first amendment, in the nature of a substitute, altered Sec. 
803C(e)(2) of the Native American Program Act of 1974 to permit 
grants a life of three, four or five years and would eliminate 
the three-year requirement and Sec. 803C(b)(7) of the Native 
American Program Act of 1974 to lower the minimum number of 
children in language nests from 10 to 5 children and lower the 
minimum number of children in survival schools from 15 to 10 
children. As amendments to the title must be done separately 
from a substitute amendment, the second amendment simply 
updated the title of the bill to reflect the changes made by 
the first amendment. The bill, as amended, was ordered to be 
favorably reported to the Senate by voice vote.
    In the 112th Congress, S. 3546 was introduced by Senator 
Tim Johnson (D-SD) with Senator Dan Akaka (D-HI) as an original 
cosponsor. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), 
Kent Conrad (D-ND), Al Franken (D-MN), Dan Inouye (D-HI), and 
Tom Udall (D-NM) joined as cosponsors later. On December 11, 
2012, the Committee met at a duly called business meeting to 
consider the bill. S. 3546, was ordered to be favorably 
reported to the Senate by voice vote.

        SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS OF BILL AS ORDERED REPORTED

Section 1. Short title

    Section 1 sets forth the short title of the bill as the 
``Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act.''

Section 2. Native American languages grant program

    Section 2 changes the current requirement for the minimum 
number of enrollees in eligible survival schools from 15 to 10 
students and language nests from 10 to 5 students. It further 
amends the provision on the length of the P&M; grants and the 
EMI grants from the current maximum of three years to authorize 
the grant awards for three, four, and five year durations.

Section 3. Reauthorization of the Native American languages program

    Section 3 reauthorizes Section 816(e) of the Native 
American Programs Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 2992d(e)) from 2017 to 
2022.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

                                                     March 7, 2017.
Hon. John Hoeven,
Chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 254, the Esther 
Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jennifer 
Gray.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

    Summary: S. 254 would authorize, through 2022, a grant 
program to preserve Native American languages. CBO estimates 
that implementing the legislation would cost $53 million over 
the 2017-2022 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary 
amounts.
    Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending 
or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    CBO estimates that enacting S. 254 would not increase net 
direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    S. 254 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).

               REGULATORY AND PAPERWORK IMPACT STATEMENT

    Paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the 
Senate requires that each report accompanying a bill to 
evaluate the regulatory and paperwork impact that would be 
incurred in carrying out the bill. The Committee believes that 
S. 254 will have a minimal impact on regulatory or paperwork 
requirements.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The Committee has received no communications from the 
Executive Branch regarding S. 254.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    On February 8, 2017, the Committee unanimously approved a 
motion by Chairman Hoeven to waive the Cordon rule. Thus, in 
the opinion of the Committee, it is necessary to dispense with 
subsection 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing Rules of the Senate 
in order to expedite the business of the Senate.