Great Basin Native American Language
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.
The NDE maintains and oversees the endorsement application
process and provides a certification to fluent speakers, which are usually
tribal elders. The tribal speakers are
recommended in application either by the tribal councils, or the language
The GBNAL can be found in the following NAC:
§NAC 389.516 Permissible elective courses of study.
(NRS 385.080, 385.110,
338.360). A local school board may offer the following
courses of study as elective courses in a public high school: 18. Great Basin
Native American languages.
§NAC 391.233 Special Endorsement to teach Great Basin
Native American Language. (NRS
391.019). (See Appendix A for Endorsement & application). http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NAC/NAC391.html
§NAC 389.6549 (NRS 385.080, 385.110). A Course of study
in a Great Basin
Native American Language must include instruction
designed to teach the pupil to do the following: (see Appendix B for full
description). Added to NAC by Bd. of Education by R066-97, eff. 12-10-97)
Why would an
endorsement be required?
A person who does not possess the qualifications required by
paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection1 (see above) should contact the Nevada
Department of Education, Indian Education Consultant Office, and act in compliance
with subsection 4:
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 proposes to teach must be provided to the Department before he may
How is the GBNAL
being implemented currently?
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
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).
Moapa Band of Paiute
In January 2014, the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) has
hosted the Language & History Symposium with the Moapa Band of Paiute
Tribe, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The event has brought individuals from the Southern Paiute tribes in
Nevada, Arizona and Utah, along with other tribes. The event is consistent with the GBNAL State
Statute, which allows tribes to work with their school districts to enact one
of the tribal languages (Northern Paiute, Southern Paiute, Washoe, and Western
Shoshone) in public schools throughout Nevada.