"We don't know of a single child raised speaking English who has learned a native language in a classroom," Powell said, despite educators' spending $2 billion on such efforts.
"Fluency wasn't one of the alternatives. It just wasn't achievable."
Instead, at the invitation of the Quileute Tribal Council, Powell and Jensen devised a series of intensive courses, four to five weeks long, held twice a year over two years.
The Quileute reached the halfway point of the curriculum last month.
What is emerging is a language of English mingled with Quileute words and phrases—greetings, common comments and "useful terms of various kinds," Powell said.