Dr. Jon Reyhner
Last Tuesday, November 21, we welcomed to the Center for Basque Studies Dr. Jon Reyhner. Dr. Reyhner is a Professor of Education and coordinator for the bilingual multicultural education program at Northern Arizona University.
His interesting and passionate lecture was focused on the importance of revitalizing Indigenous languages in the United States. According to his discussion, revitalizing Indigenous languages is necessary to heal the wounds of colonialism, to improve student’s behavior, as well as improve academic success. Language is the most important tool for cultural identity and memory and gives the ability to preserve one’s heritage while also allowing one to assimilate with other cultures without alienation or loss of one’s uniqueness.
Language can also bring together multiple generations and allows one to feel connected to their roots and ancestors. Dr. Reyhner had multiple interesting accounts of his time as a teacher working with Indigenous languages. From his own perspective and life experiences, he discussed the struggles and triumphs of these various programs promoting bilingual education.
This presentation was extremely interesting and very relevant for us at the Center for Basque Studies. Minority languages although at times have difficulty surviving, individuals such as Dr. Reyhner and others continue to strive and dedicate their time and hard work to their preservation and growth.
Thank you so much for your time and presentation, Dr. Reyhner!
Dr.Reyhner at the Center for Basque Studies. Photo by Inaki Arrieta Baro, Jon Bilbao Basque Library.
If you are interested in some of his writings you might enjoy reading Language Rights and Cultural Diversity. This book analyzes the official status of many minority languages, as well as their cultural, political, and legal situation, showing the worldwide linguistic diversity and cultural richness.