FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) – Native studies officials at the University of Alaska Fairbanks are praising efforts to reauthorize federal legislation funding immersion programs for Native American languages.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and others this week have introduced a measure reauthorizing the funding for Native language learning initiatives, including immersion programs, language teacher training, and additional teaching materials and curriculum.

It would also maintain two national programs and expand programs to smaller tribes, as well as lengthen the grant periods.

Sandra Kowalski, the university’s director of Indigenous Programs for Rural, Community and Native Education, says Alaska Native languages are in “various states of decline,” but language education is on the rise.

She says the measure is a step in the right direction for Alaska Native languages.

Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com