Being the good American I am, I'm always fascinated by other places' languages. I just found out today that Maori is actually the official second language of New Zealand.
I've never been to New Zealand, but this is interesting given the debate today over whether to enshrine English as the "national language" of America. By declaring English the official "first language" and Maori the "official second language" I don't think they're actually protecting Maori's status as a language as a culture. Rather, it is making their culture and language officially "secondary" to the primary culture, which is Anglo.
This is particularly complex because part of New Zealand's history is that they promised to protect Maori as a language in the Treaty of Waitangi (which apparently is rife with controversy itself--if I'm not mistaken, I believe that the English version is actually different than the Maori version, not just a pure translation--feel free to correct me on this one if I'm off). So on the one hand, there has to be official recognition of Maori, but recognizing it as secondary is...sort of offensive. At least it seems it would be that way to me.
I think that with the current debate over making English the "national language" in America, these are important issues to consider. It is a largely symbolic gesture, made to reassure skittish Americans that the dominant Anglo strain will not be washed away in a sea of Hispanic immigration. However, these things can also seen as an assertion of superiority. And since this does shape how we view an entire class of people, I'm extremely concerned about how this will shape generations of younger Americans and how they view our neighbors to the south, much less Hispanics in their own communities.