George Bush photo

Statement on Signing the Native American Languages Act of 1992

October 26, 1992

Today I am signing into law S. 2044, the "Native American Languages Act of 1992," a bill to establish a program to help preserve Native American languages. Traditional languages are an important part of this Nation's culture and history and can help provide Native Americans with a sense of identity and pride in their heritage.

I am concerned, however, about provisions in this bill that provide benefits to "Native Hawaiians" as defined in a race-based fashion. This race-based classification cannot be supported as an exercise of the constitutional authority granted to the Congress to benefit Native Americans as members of tribes. In addition, the terms "Native American Pacific Islanders" and "Indian organizations in urban or rural nonreservation areas" are not defined with sufficient clarity to determine whether they are based on racial classifications. Therefore, I direct the affected Cabinet Secretaries to consult with the Attorney General in order to resolve these issues in a constitutional manner.

George Bush

The White House,

October 26, 1992.

Note: S. 2044, approved October 26, was assigned Public Law No. 102 - 524. This statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 27.

George Bush, Statement on Signing the Native American Languages Act of 1992 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives