The effect of Arizona language policies on Arizona Indigenous students

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This article discusses the effect of Arizona's language policies on school districts serving Native American students. Although these policies were designed to restrict the access of Spanish-speaking immigrant and citizen students to bilingual education programs, their reach has extended into schools and school districts serving Native Americans. Arizona's coercive and contradictory language and education policies for English language learners thus provide an instructive example of the phenomenon of unintended consequences. Nonetheless, that such policies may be unintentional make them no less egregious. The authors argue that Arizona's language policies, together with the difficult reporting mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, have compromised tribal efforts to revitalize endangered Indigenous languages and abrogated their federally recognized, though frequently ignored, rights to self-determination and sovereignty. The article discusses these and other inconsistencies between federal and state-supported policies that both create and foreclose educational opportunities and spaces for Indigenous communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-118
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Indigenous language revitalization
  • Language policy
  • Native American students
  • Sovereignty
  • Unintended consequences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of Arizona language policies on Arizona Indigenous students'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this