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National Archives

Public Papers - 1992

Statement on Signing the Native American Languages Act of 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.

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