Language is a critical tool to establish and locate individual, community and collective identities. Identity cannot be imposed by educational authorities: it has to be owned and controlled by the community themselves.
Language promotion and education enhances positive identity for indigenous youth. This in turn improves education, employment, and the social environment.
How do students construct for themselves a sense of belonging and identity? Schools can play an important role in the development and reinforcing of positive models of contemporary Indigenous identity. This can be achieved through the development of Indigenous language and cultural programs that produce real learning outcomes. Total immersion and bilingual/bi-dialectal education also need to be explored.