Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Anthropology (Cultural Heritage Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

S. Neyooxet Greymorning

Commitee Members

Gregory Campbell, Richmond Clow, Leora Bar-El, Irene Appelbaum


boarding schools, endangered language revitalization, language sovereignty, Native American education, Native American history, sovereignty


University of Montana


This dissertation examines the revitalization of endangered Indigenous languages in the United States in relation to the concept of sovereignty. I investigate historical reasons for language destruction in the United States as a means of understanding the mechanism used in conquest and the long-range effects on the educational system. I use the term "language sovereignty" to reflect the right of tribal organizations in the US to assert the use of traditional languages as a means of self-identifying as distinct sovereign nations. I draw from initiatives in Hawaii and Europe to demonstrate how regional and linguistic minority languages have been revitalized and reintroduced in culture and commerce. Lastly, I suggest how language sovereignty may influence general language diversity and future language policy in the United States.



© Copyright 2014 Annie Thornburg Oakes