In 2016, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), ANA announced the availability of funds for 5-year cooperative agreements to support communities that can demonstrate success in offering a continuum of Native language instruction from early childhood through post-secondary education. This program was authorized under Section 805 of the Native American Programs Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. 2991d. The cooperative agreements funded involved significant collaboration between ACF/ANA staff, the NLCC TTA Center, and the recipients during the performance of projects.

The purpose of this demonstration funding opportunity is to build upon the successes of ANA’s short-term, project-based Native Language funding. This effort was intended as a place-based demonstration that addressed gaps in community coordination across the Native language educational continuum. Projects funded under this initiative ensured high-quality Native language instruction from early childhood through post-secondary education.



  • March 28, 2016, Funding Opportunity Announcement released
  • June 1, 2016, Applications due
  • August 1, 2016, NLCC project start date
  • October 4 – 7, 2016 NLCC Post Award Training and Native Language Summit (Reno, NV)
  • Feb. 1 – April 15, 2017 - ANA engaged a consultant to review Native Language Proficiency Assessment Tools of NLCC recipients


  • July 31, 2017, Year 1 concludes
  • August 1, 2017, Year 2 begins
  • September 29, 2017, NLCC T/TA Center Opens
  • October 23 – 24, 2017, Native Languages Summit, Albuquerque, NM
  • October 25 – 26, 2017, NLCC Semi-annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM
  • December 12 – 14, 2017, ANA T/TA Quarterly Meeting, Washington, DC


  • March 6 – 8, 2018, ANA T/TA Quarterly Meeting, Hilo, HI
  • June 12 – 14, 2018, ANA T/TA Quarterly Meeting, Washington, DC
  • June 30, 2018, Year 2 concludes: changes to grant year to match other ANA language grant awards.
  • July 1, 2018, Year 3 begins
  • September 9, 2018, ANA T/TA Quarterly Meeting, Washington, DC
  • September 11 – 13, 2018, NLCC Semi-annual Meeting, Washington, DC
  • November 27 – 30, 2018, ANA Grantee Meeting, Washington, DC


  • February 5 – 7, 2019, NLCC Semi-annual Meeting, hosted by Yurok Tribe, Klamath, CA
  • June 27 – 28, 2019, Montana Early Childhood Tribal Language Summit (NLCC T/TA Director attended on behalf of NLCC Cohort)
  • June 30, 2019, Year 3 concludes
  • July 1, 2019, Year 4 begins
  • August 26 – 30, 2019, ANA T/TA Quarterly Meeting, Ketchikan, AK
  • September 10 – 12, 2019, NLCC Semi-annual Meeting, hosted by Sun’aq Tribe, Kodiak, AK
  • September 16 – 19, 2019, American Indian Language Development Institute, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Worley, ID (NLCC T/TA Director attended on behalf of NLCC Cohort)
  • October 8 – 12, 2019, 2019 National Native Languages Summit, Minneapolis, MN
  • December 10 – 12, 2019, ANA T/TA Quarterly Meeting, Washington, DC


  • February 11 – 13, 2020, 2020 ACF Native American Grantee Meeting, Washington, DC
  • March 10, 2020, Semi-annual Meeting in Tahlequah, OK, canceled due to COVID-19, beginning of the pandemic.
  • June 30, 2020, Year 4 concludes
  • July 1, 2020, Year 5 begins
  • August 19 – 21, 2020, NLCC Semi-annual Meeting, Zoom
  • September 15 – 18, 2020, NLCC Language Capacity Building Symposium, Zoom
  • November 16 – 18, 2020, 2020 National Native American Languages Summit, Zoom

Note: July 1 – Jun 30, 2021, COVID-19 is the biggest challenge ever faced by the recipients. They pivot and extend outreach via virtual platforms to complete Object Work Plan activities. All five have requested a No Cost Extension (NCE) to their cooperative agreements to complete the activities.


  • January 25 – 28, 2021, NLCC Semi-annual Meeting, Zoom
  • February 22 – 25, 2021, ANA Grantee Meeting, Zoom
  • June 30, 2021, Year 5 concludes.
  • July 1, 2021, NCE Year 6 begins


  • June 30, 2022, NCE Year 6 concludes.

Lessons Learned from NLCC Cohort
(no particular order)

COVID-19 Lessons

  • Cherokee worked on identifying all the first language speakers as a result of the Community Readiness Assessment (CRA) action plan, which was required under the cooperative agreement. Fortunately, this happened prior to the pandemic. They created a book with contact information for their speakers. At the onset of COVID-19, they were able to use the information they collected to keep in contact and provide services to their elder speakers, such as delivering food so that they stayed safe and healthy.
  • Yurok intended to launch an online language program for their teacher candidates following the conclusion of their NLCC project. However, the advent of the pandemic forced them to launch the virtual learning program a year early. They were able to put together a curriculum and provide online language teaching for their teacher candidates. Additionally, due to having a virtual community classroom, they saw new participants from outside of the Yurok reservation attending.
  • Sun’aq Tribe’s Language Nest teachers stepped up and began creating activity packs for their parents to pick up each week and take home to use with their children. Additionally, the teachers recorded videos weekly to upload to their website to teach Alutiiq. Sun’aq also refurbished their language website, so it is searchable, and the audience can easily access any lessons, videos, dictionaries, etc., they need to learn Alutiiq.
  • Aaniiih Nakoda College had been working on the idea of online courses, but Ft. Belknap has a limited range for the internet. They provided equipment to their students and then developed a staggered in-class plan for teaching.
  • Kiowa was hit hard by COVID-19. They have very little range for internet access, so working from home was difficult. They provided equipment for their mentors and teacher candidates and worked out a virtual presence for teaching Kiowa. They asked family members to assist the elder with technology so that the elders stayed safe and were able to continue sharing their stories, history, and tribal culture through the virtual classes.


  • All recipients have switched to virtual platforms for outreach activities. They have all found an increase in community participation locally, as well as outside their regions, including other states and internationally.
  • All recipients have found that interest in learning the language has increased among each community, with most finding tribal administration champions for language revitalization. From Cherokee Nation-building a language center to house all Cherokee language programs as well as Sun’aq planning to build a language and culture center to requiring indigenous language learning/speaking during tribal council meetings. Yurok Tribal Council has included their language as part of their sessions and is working on supporting the language program once the project ends.


  • Partnerships have strengthened or increased in numbers for each of the recipients.
  • The recipients are finding resource support from their partners, which is a great help in completing their objective work plans.

Teacher Capacity

  • The Cherokee Nation have hired at least one of their apprentices that graduated from the NLCC Master-Apprentice model they used.
  • The Yurok Tribe has 10 teacher candidates on schedule to complete their degrees and teacher credentials for the state of California.
  • The Sun’aq Tribe is growing their own teachers from high school classes, community classes, and college classes.
  • The Kiowa Tribe is training teacher candidates as well and looks forward to hiring them when the credentialing process has been completed and approved by the tribe.