Language Advocacy Essay Category

Description and Guidelines

Native American Language Advocacy essays emphasis the importance of Native American languages. Many entries contain introductions, sentences or words in the author's Native language, but this essay should be primarily in English. The Fair encourages participants to be aware of the issues surrounding language loss, how language loss is effecting Native communities both nationally and locally, and how to be language advocates for their communities

Suggestions for preparing for the ONAYALF:

  • Pre-register online- You must pre-register to receive t-shirts and awards. Please do so as early as possible.
  • Printed: Double-space, 12 pt. font, about 1000 words or 2-3 pages
  • Can be handwritten
  • Email the essay to [email protected] , with a Materials Submission Form.

Guidelines for your ONAYALF performance:

Please do not:

  • Plagiarize. Work must be original.
  • Write entirely in Native languages; the essay should be primarily in English

Essay Delivery

We must receive all material submissions on or before the material submissions deadline posted on the website for pre-judging. We accept these electronic formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf. You can email, print and mail or drop off your entry. Please be sure to include your name, school and teacher's name, if applicable, tribal affiliation and Native languages you speak (or are learning) at the top of the first page.

If you email your essay, label the file this way: ONAYALF_year_Essay_Lastname. For example:


Follow the instructions on the Material Submission Form.

Judging Essay

Material submissions are pre-judged before the Fair. A panel of at least three elders, Native language teachers, language advocates, and/or university professors will judge essays on these criteria:

  • Goal of the essay
  • Spirit of the essay
  • Impact of written expression¬†
  • Clarity of writing

We request that the author of the winning essay read it aloud at the Fair if present. 

Students performing in multiple categories may experience scheduling conflicts. We try to avoid this, but help us out and let us know if you see a potential problem.

Questions? Comments? Help? Contact [email protected] or 918-781-7260.