The role of the UNESCO preliminary draft convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in protecting native languages in the United States
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The United States has recognized for several decades the importance of preserving our nation’s cultural history. The National Historic Preservation Act created a nationwide system of preserving and respecting the tangible cultural heritage of the United States. However, the NHPA and others statutes do not include mechanisms for preserving intangible cultural heritage, such as languages. Each language, as the method for communication, contains culturally specific meanings. In this way, language is an important aspect of culture that is worthy of preservation. The UNESCO Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage provides a framework for protecting such resources and should be ratified by the United States.