Indigenous Education Elsewhere in the Arctic World

The "Small Peoples" of the Russian North include 31 groups with a total population of over 200,000. While the 1992 Education Act decentralized education in the Russian Federation, education for the indigenous peoples of the North remains a federal responsibility. The Constitution of the Russian Federation guarantees rights to preserve, study, and develop indigenous languages, including the right to receive basic education in mother tongues; however, political, financial, and administrative realities have limited the development of those programs.

The indigenous people of Japan, the Ainu, number about 50,000. Most live on the northern island of Hokkaido. In May 1997, the Japanese Diet passed the Promotion of Ainu Culture and Dissemination of Knowledge Law requiring prefectural governments nationwide to respect the Ainu as a distinct race and canceling all previous discriminatory laws. Intermarriage and governmental assimilation policies have discouraged the teaching and learning of the Ainu language and culture, but recent years have seen an increase in political organization and cultural preservation activities.

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