This article provides a context for understanding indigenous immersion education and the issues surrounding the model as a critical strategy for revitalization of indigenous languages. Through articulating narratives and drawing on literatures internationally, an image of indigenous language education models emerges. Inspired by strong heritage language learner identities, program models are shaped around building family and community relationships, revitalizing cultural traditions and practices, and re-establishing indigenous language identity in its homeland. Indigenous language immersion models vary as they are developed in vastly different contexts. Three distinct contexts — Ojibwe, Māori, and Hawaiian — are described to illustrate the diversity and range of models. The article closes with some reflections from practice that will provide a context for building a research agenda to advance the revitalization of indigenous languages through immersion.
(1995) Education for extinction: American Indians and the boarding school experience, 1875-1928. Lawrence, KN: University Press of Kansas.
Bishop, R., Berryman, M., & Richardson, C
(2002) Te Toi Huarewa: Effective teaching and learning in total immersion Māori. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 26(1), 44–61.
(2007) The impact of historical trauma: The example of the Native community. In B. Marian & W. Judith (Eds.), Trauma transformed: An empowerment response (pp. 176–193). New York: Columbia University.
Clifford, J., & Marcus, G
(Eds.) (1986) Writing culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Dance, J., Gutierrez, R., & Hermes, M
(2010) More like jazz than classical: Reciprocal interactions among educational researchers and respondents. Harvard Educational Review, 80(3), 327–351.
(1998) Te mana te kāwanatanga: The politics of Māori self-determination. Auckland: Oxford University Press.
(1996) What do you lose when you lose your language? In G. Cantoni (Ed.), Stabilizing indigenous languages (pp. 71–81). Flagstaff: Northern Arizona University. Retrieved from [URL]
(2000-2001) Identity as an analytic lens for research in education. Review of Research in Education, 251, 99–125. Retrieved from [URL]
Grenoble, L., & Whaley, L
(2006) Saving languages: An introduction to language revitalization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Harrison, B., & Papa, R
(2005) The development of an indigenous knowledge program in a New Zealand Māori-language immersion school. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 36(1), 57–72.
in press). Mii gaa-izhiwinag (I bring her along). In S. Grande (Ed.) Red pedagogy 10th ed New York Routledge
(2007) Moving toward the language: Reflections on teaching in an indigenous-immersion school. Journal of American Indian Education, 46(3), 54–71.
(1997) Research methods as a situated response: Towards a First Nations’ methodology. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 11(1), 155–168.
(Ed.) (2013) Bringing languages home: Language revitalization for families. Berkeley, CA: Heyday.
(2011) Language revitalization and language pedagogy: New teaching and learning strategies. Language and Education, 25(4), 307–318.
(2006) The “goodness” of bilingual education for Native American children. In T.L. McCarty & O. Zepeda (Eds.), One voice, many voices: Recreating indigenous language communities (pp. 1–46). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University Center for Indian Education.
(2002) The rise and fall of a Dakota immersion pre-school. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 23(3), 195–213.
(2013, June). T’áá Ádoonííł Lá it can happen. Paper presented at the 20th Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium, Flagstaff, AZ.
Johnson, F.T., & Legatz, J
(2006) Tsehootsooi Dine Bi’ olta’. [Special Issue]. Journal of American Indian Education, 45(2), 26–33.
(2012) Kūkohu: A study on the cultural ecology of Hawaiian-medium and Hawaiian immersion learning environments. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, OH.
(2007) The top ten reasons for becoming an immersion teacher of an indigenous language. American Council of Immersion Education (ACIE) Newsletter, 10(3), 1. Retrieved from [URL]
Kawai‘ae‘a, K., Alencastre, M., & Housman, A
(2007) Pū‘ā i ka ‘ōlelo, ola ka ‘ohana: A living case study of three Hawaiian language families over one generation of revitalizing the Hawaiian language. Hūlili: Multidisciplinary Research on Hawaiian Well-being, 4(1), 183–237. Retrieved from [URL]
(2001) Language revitalization processes and prospects: Quichua in the Ecuadorian Andes. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters Press.
(1984) The postmodern condition. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Luning, R.J., & Yamauchi, L.A
(2010) The influences of indigenous heritage language education on students and families in a Hawaiian language immersion program. Heritage Language Journal, 7(2), 46–75.
(2003) Revitalising indigenous languages in homogenizing times. Comparative Education, 39(2), 147–163.
(2005) Indigenous epistemologies and education – Self-determination, anthropology, and human rights. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 36(1), 1–7.
(2008) Bilingual education by and for American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. In J. Cummins & N. Hornberger (Eds.), Bilingual education. Encyclopedia of language and education (2nd ed., Vol. 51, pp. 239–251). NY: Springer.
(2009) The role of native languages and cultures in American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian student achievement. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University.
(2012) Language planning and policy in Native American: History, theory, praxis. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
McCarty, T.L., & Zepeda, O
(Eds.) (2006) One voice, many voices: Recreating indigenous language communities. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University Center for Indian Education.
McCarty, T.L., & Watahomigie, L.J
(1998) Indigenous community-based language education in the USA. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 11(3), 309–324.
Mufwenge, S., & Vigouroux, C
(2008) Colonization, globalization and language vitality in Africa: An introduction. In C.B. Vigouroux & S.S. Mufwene (Eds.), Globalization and language vitality perspectives from Africa (pp. 3–31). London: Continuum Press.
(2012) Language competencies of gratuating teachers for Māori-medium learners. Wellington: New Zealand: New Zealand Teachers Council Te Pouherenga Kaiako o Aotearoa.
New Zealand Ministry of Education. (
2009) Mana Tamariki te kōhanga leo me te kua kaupapa Māori. Retrieved from [URL]
New Zealand Ministry of Education. (
2010) About Māori-medium education. Retrieved from [URL]
New Zealand Ministry of Education
(2013) Tau Mai Te Reo: The Māori language in education strategy 2013–2017. Retrieved from [URL]
New Zealand Ministry of Education. (
2014) Māori language in education. Retrieved from [URL]
(2009) Wenesh waa oshkii-bmaadizijig noondamowaad? What will the young children hear? In J. Reyhner & L. Lockard (Eds.), Indigenous language revitalization (pp. 11–22). Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University.
Pease-Pretty On Top, J
(2003) Native American language immersion: Innovative native education for children and families. Retrieved from [URL]
(2007) Our beloved Cherokee: Preschool language immersion. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 38(4), 323–342.
Peter, L., Christie, E., Cochran, M., Dunn, D., Elk, L., Fields, E., Fields, J., Hirata‐Edds, T., Huckaby, A., Raymond, M., Shade, H., Sly, G., Wickliffe, G., & Yamamoto, A
(2003) Assessing the impact of total immersion on Cherokee language revitalization: A culturally responsive, participatory approach. In J. Reyhner, O. Trujillo, R.L. Carrasco, & L. Lockard (Eds.), Nurturing native languages (pp. 7–23). Flagstaff, AZ: Northern Arizona University.
Peter, L., & Hirata-Edds, T
(2009) Learning to read and write Cherokee: Toward a theory of literacy revitalization. Bilingual Research Journal, 32(2), 207–227.
Peter, L., Hirata‐Edds, T., & Montgomery‐Anderson, B
(2008) Verb development by children in the Cherokee immersion program. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 18(2), 166–187.
(2005) Literacy acquisition, assessment and achievement of Yr. 2 students in total immersion. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 8(5), 404–432.
Red Lake Nation News. (
2013, March 21). Inaugural cohort of Native American-language teachers completes master’s degrees, now pursuing state teaching licenses. Retrieved from [URL]
(2006) Contemporary Native American issues: Education and language restoration. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.
(2010) Indigenous language immersion schools for strong indigenous identities. Heritage Language Journal, 7(2), 138–152.
(2011) NCEA 2011 school leavers achievement data in reo group. Unpublished manuscript. Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Ministry of Education.
(2008) Linguistic genocide in education - or worldwide diversity and human rights? Delhi: Orient Blackswan.
Skutnabb-Kangas, T., & Heugh, K
(Eds.) (2012) Multilingual education and sustainable diversity work: From periphery to center. New York: Taylor and Francis.
(1997) Indigenous language immersion in Hawai’i. In R.K. Johnson & M. Swain (Eds.), Immersion education: International perspectives (pp. 105–129). NY: Cambridge University Press.
(1999) Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. New York, NY: Palgrave.
Tapine, V., & Waiti, D
(Eds.) (1997) Visions for Māori education. Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.
Te Rūnanga Nui o ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa. (
2008) Official version of te aho matua o ngā kura kaupapa Māori and an explanation in English. Retrieved from [URL]
Timutimu, N., Ormsby-Teki, T., & Ellis, R
(2009) Reo o Kainga (language of the home): A Ngai te rangi language regeneration project. In J. Reyhner & L. Lockard (Eds.), Indigenous language revitalization (pp. 109–120). Flagstaff, NZ: Northern Arizona University.
(Ed.) (2001) Living our language: Ojibwe tales and oral histories. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press.
U.S. Census Bureau. (
2010) 2010 Census Shows America’s Diversity. Retrieved from [URL]
(1999) Kuleana: The right, responsibility, and authority of indigenous peoples to speak and make decisions for themselves in language and cultural revitalization. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 30(1), 68–93.
(2001) The movement to revitalize Hawaiian language and culture. In L. Hinton & K. Hale (Eds.), The green book of language revitalization in practice (pp. 133–144). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
(2008) Language fluency, accuracy, and revernacularization in different models of immersion. NIEA News, 391, 40–42.
(2012) USDE violations of NALA and the testing boycott at Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u School. Journal of American Indian Education, 51(3), 30–45.
(2013) Assessing Hawaiian. In A. Kunnan (Ed.), The companion to language assessment (pp. 1748–1758). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
(2014) Hawaiian: A Native American language official for a state. In T. Wiley, J. Peyton, D. Christian, S. Moore, & N. Liu (Eds.), Handbook of heritage, community, and Native American languages in the United States: Research, policy, and educational practice (pp. 219–228). New York, NY: Routledge.
Wilson, W.H., & Kamanā, K
(2001) “Mai loko mai o ka ‘i‘ini: Proceeding from a dream”: The ‘Aha Pūnana Leo connection in Hawaiian language revitalization. In L. Hinton & K. Hale (Eds.), The green book of language revitalization in practice (pp. 147–178). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Wilson, W.H., & Kamanā, K
(2006) “For the interest of the Hawaiians themselves”: Reclaiming the benefits of Hawaiian-medium education. Hūlili: Multidisciplinary Research on Hawaiian Well-Being, 31, 153–182. Retrieved from [URL]
Wilson, W.H. & Kamanā, K
(2011) Insights from indigenous language immersion in Hawai‘i. In D.J. Tedick, D. Christian, & T.W. Fortune (Eds.), Immersion education: Practices, policies, possibilities (pp. 36–57). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Wilson, W.H., Kamanā, K., & Rawlins, N
(2006) Nāwahī Hawaiian laboratory school. [Special Issue]. Journal of American Indian Education, 45(2), 42–49.
Wilson, W.H., & Kawai‘ae‘a, K
(2007) I Kumu; I Lālā: Let there be sources; let there be branches. Journal of American Indian Education, 46(3), 37–53.
Windwalker Corporation and The Center for Applied Linguistics. (
2012) Enhancing Indian education. Task 2: Language immersion study, Subtask 2.2: In-depth literature review of American Indian and Alaska Native language immersion programs. Tysons Corner, VA: Author.
Yamauchi, L.A., Ceppi, A.K., & Lau-Smith, J
(2000) Teaching in a Hawaiian context. Bilingual Research Journal, 24(4), 385–403.
Cited by 14 other publications
2021. Oral Corrective Feedback in Content-Based Contexts. In The Cambridge Handbook of Corrective Feedback in Second Language Learning and Teaching, ► pp. 539 ff.
Deschene, D. Nicole
2019. Coptic Language Learning and Social Media. Languages 4:3 ► pp. 73 ff.
Hermes, Mary Rose, Mel M. Engman, Meixi & James McKenzie
2023. Relationality and Ojibwemowin† in Forest Walks: Learning from Multimodal Interaction about Land and Language. Cognition and Instruction 41:1 ► pp. 1 ff.
Lee, Tiffany S. & James McKenzie
2023. Indigenous language revitalization in the United States and Canada. In International Encyclopedia of Education(Fourth Edition), ► pp. 50 ff.
McCarty, Teresa L.
2019. Indigenous Language Movements in a Settler State. In Language Politics and Policies, ► pp. 173 ff.
McCarty, Teresa L.
2021. The holistic benefits of education for Indigenous language revitalisation and reclamation (ELR2). Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 42:10 ► pp. 927 ff.
McCarty, Teresa L. & Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy
2021. Culturally Responsive, Sustaining, and Revitalizing Pedagogies: Perspectives from Native American Education. The Educational Forum 85:4 ► pp. 429 ff.
McCarty, Teresa L., Tiffany S. Lee, Joaquín Noguera, Winoka Yepa & Sheilah E. Nicholas
2022. “You Should Know the Name of the Wind Where You Live”—Relationality and Relational Accountability in Indigenous-Language Education. Comparative Education Review 66:3 ► pp. 417 ff.
McCarty, Teresa L., Joaquín Noguera, Tiffany S. Lee & Sheilah E. Nicholas
2021. “A Viable Path for Education”—Indigenous-Language Immersion and Sustainable Self-Determination. Journal of Language, Identity & Education 20:5 ► pp. 340 ff.
2022. Addressing historical trauma and healing in Indigenous language cultivation and revitalization. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 42 ► pp. 71 ff.
Meighan, Paul J.
2023. “What is language for us?”: Community-based Anishinaabemowin language planning using TEK-nology. Language Policy 22:2 ► pp. 223 ff.
Phyak, Prem & Bal Krishna Sharma
2021. Regimes of linguistic entrepreneurship: neoliberalism, the entanglement of language ideologies and affective regime in language education policy. Multilingua 40:2 ► pp. 199 ff.
2019. Introduction. In Language Politics and Policies, ► pp. 1 ff.
Wilson, William H., Ryan DeCaire, Brooke Niiyogaabawiikwe Gonzalez & Teresa L. McCarty
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 26 september 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
Any errors therein should be reported to them.