Our July 2020 Native word of the month features a fun video made by Deloole’aanh Erickson, Dewey Kk’ołeyo Hoffman (with daughter Telele Iŋmaġana), Kimberly Me’enh Nezoonh Nicholas, and Anna Nelaatoh Clock.

Baahaa Nek’edenledegee = Pencil

Denaakk’e

Click the image below to view our July Native word of the month video!

July NWOM

For more translations, view our Native word of the month archives on the Foundation website.

We also invite you to access free online language-learning lessons by signing up for Doyon Languages Online! We currently have lessons available for HolikachukDenaakk’eBenhti Kenaga’ and Gwich’in, as well as a special set of Hän lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby. All interested learners may sign up and access the courses at no charge – sign up today!

172_DLO Language Champion Promotion_GeorgeHolly_FB-IN“Dina xiyo ngitlith: Our thoughts are powerful”

An artist and songwriter who grew up in Ts’eldahthnu (Soldotna) on the Kahtnu (Kenai) River, George Holly is a content coordinator with Doyon Languages Online whose learning is guided by the wisdom of Chief Peter John: “God has given us each a language to praise Him with.”

George’s parents are the late Joanne Holly of Holy Cross and the late George Holly, Sr., who came to Anchorage, Alaska, when he was 11, in 1951. George’s maternal grandparents are the late Nick and Nellie Demientieff of Holy Cross. Nellie Demientieff grew up in Anvik and together Nick and Nellie raised 10 children, including Sam Demientieff, Irene Catalone, Sugar Merculieff, Tiny Devlin and Lolly Demientieff.

George is the owner of Holly House, a guest house on the Kenai River. His language is Deg Xinag, the language of Alaska Native people of the Lower Yukon and Innoko Rivers.

Doyon Foundation: Take us back to early days of learning your language. Who and what inspires you?

George Holly: My first language teacher and mentor was Ellen Savage, wife of my grandpa’s first cousin, Pius Savage. I was 24 years old when Ellen taught me my first words. She took my hands into hers and told me to never let her words fall from me.

I learned from Ellen that language can be what she would call dinayetr — our breath — and what she’d refer to simply as the good life. I’ve learned that language is not only a vehicle of communication but a good work. It affirms community life, service and time-tested generational experience for good thought.

DF: In addition to providing learning units since joining Doyon Languages Online last year, you remain a diligent student of Deg Xinag. How do the two roles fit together?

GH: I’ve been learning my language for 25 years, sometimes through weekly distance education classes, sometimes listening to and studying the printed text of oral histories, and sometimes through university courses or language development institutes. In 1999 I moved to Shageluk, near Holy Cross in our cultural area of Western Alaska, to be nearer to speakers of Deg Xinag. I stayed nine months.

My teachers have included many Elders, among Deg Xit’an people and also Tlinglit and Dena’ina people. I’m amazed to hear the same spirit of loving guidance in each. (When performing at Camai a few years back, I heard Yup’ik Elders speak to their dance groups backstage and was stunned to hear that same uplifting and ennobling speech there. We all share it.) The Elders pass down what they had learned about life from their own “old people” about community traditions and right living with the world.

DF: That seems like your main point — that language is much more than getting across our thoughts.

GH: Learning and speaking one’s language has the potential to open things inside you, connect you in untold ways to the prayers and hopes, joys and knowledge of those who came before.

DF: You stress the value of listening when it comes to language learning.

GH: Listening, doing activities in the language, being open to what’s being said — these have all helped me learn my language. And working with kids. “Going North Song” and “The Squirrel Love Song” and “Naqanaga” are some of the songs I’ve written being sung across the state and the Yukon Territory.

Growing up outside of my cultural region I didn’t take part in much of the ceremonial life of our community. But I’m Deg Xit’an — one of “the local people” — and I’ve joked that it means wherever I was, I was one of the locals. It works to take part in the local life— supporting the local language is something needed, necessary and good.

How can you say you really lived in a place or really loved a place if you haven’t heard, supported, loved and spoken the language of a place?

DF: You are a talented songwriter; “Naqanaga (Our Language),” “Chenh ditr’al iy (Until We See Each Other Again)” and “Ani Chonh Igili’eyh (Over the Rainbow in Deg Xinag)” are some examples of songs you’ve worked on. What role do you feel music plays in language learning?

GH: I feel strongly about using my talents to support language revitalization. I write music for schools, with teachers, students in small groups and individuals – all with local language. Lorna Vent from Huslia said “music is for building a spirit.” I write music to help build that spirit and the intangibles to experience language in a personal way. Students I’ve worked with usually like to try to add more Native language once they feel it for themselves. 

DF: Where does your work with Doyon Languages Online fit in to your goals as a language learner?

GH: Distance is a big challenge when it comes to being among speakers, learning the language and using it frequently. When I travel anywhere I try to visit places where I know language learning is happening and spend good time with folks.

Helping people overcome these challenges by developing units to people have online access to our language is part of why working for Doyon Languages Online has been so poignant and purpose-driven for me.

DF: You want to become more methodical about language learning. What would that look like?

GH: I’d like to learn more about moving beyond working with individuals. For instance, what can be done so that language takes on more life in a family context? How can culture camps and weekly or monthly or quarterly community events support intergenerational interaction in the language?

How could parents be empowered to use the language with their young ones and other family members? And since kids learn so quickly, how might roles be maintained when a child advances faster than adult family members? How can a social environment be built and supported so that local language use is favored and preferred?

Moreover, regarding language in groups: How does a community experience hope?

I believe the arts help in this area.

These are things I’d like to address. There’s so much to learn and share. Ting getiy dixet’a. Xogho ntr’ixetonik. The trail is awfully rough. We’ll work at it together.

DF: Any closing thoughts?

GH: When it comes to involving Elders working on Doyon Languages Online, Edna Deacon and Jim Dementi deserve mention. It wouldn’t happen without them. And I thank Doyon Foundation for the confidence it has in my role with Doyon Languages Online.

My language learning efforts are dedicated to Ellen Savage, my first teacher, and in memory of my dear folks who allowed me to be a person in my own skin and who were and are such encouragers of art and “the good life.” Dogidinh, xisrigidisddhinh sidithnaqay neg! “Thank you, I’m grateful, my dear parents!”

About Doyon Languages Online

Through the Doyon Language Online project, Doyon Foundation is developing introductory online lessons for Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). The project officially launched in summer 2019 with the first four courses, now available for free to all interested learners.

Doyon Languages Online is funded by a three-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), awarded in 2016, and an additional three-year grant from the Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP), awarded in 2017.

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we believe it is important to recognize people who are committed to learning and perpetuating their ancestral language. We are pleased to share some of these “language champion” profiles with you.

If you know a language champion, please nominate him or her by contacting our language program director at haytona@doyon.com. Language champions may also complete our profile questionnaire here. You may learn more about our language revitalization program on our website, or sign up to access the free Doyon Languages Online courses here.

Alaska Communications looking for the good in Alaska. Tell them about a child or teen who has made a positive difference in the community. Whether it was to support others during the pandemic or an ongoing effort to support the community, we want to hear about young people who have made their Alaska community better. Their Summer of Heroes program is partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs – Alaska to celebrate 10 years in honoring youth! Local heroes can win $1,500 scholarships. Learn more and nominate someone here: www.alaskacommunications.com/summerofheroes 

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Doyon is supporting my endeavor toward a career in the electrical field”

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Spencer Brown. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

A Doyon Foundation student pursuing his certificate in industrial electricity, Spencer is scheduled to graduate from the Alaska Vocational Technical School (AVTEC) in June 2020. His parents are Nadene and Chad Brown; Nadene is from the McGrath area and Chad is from Anchorage. His maternal grandparents are Alice Verdene and Richard Anslement; both are from the McGrath area. His paternal grandparents are Gloria and Howdice Brown; Gloria is from Elim and Howdice is from Benson, Minnesota.

Spencer, a 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson committee’s choice scholarship recipient, is a 2019 high school graduate from Enlightium Academy. He currently lives in Seward, where AVTEC is located.  

Spencer understands the power of setting goals. “My plans for the next several months are to stay focused on school, work hard and finish at the top of my class,” he says. Beyond that, he’s eager to enter the workforce and keep learning.

“Doyon Foundation graciously offered to help support my endeavor,” Spencer says. His scholarship helped cover costs of tuition as well as tools needed for AVTEC classes. “Doyon helped me overcome this challenge.”

A tour of AVTEC introduced him to the range of topics covered in the industrial electricity certificate. Day-to-day homework involves Spencer in practical applications of mathematical principles and theory.

“I love that I’m able to figure out such things as superposition, sine waves and Thevenin and Norton equivalents,” he says. “Everything I learn has a reason and a purpose. It’s an incredibly interesting and diverse field.”

Graduates in industrial electricity are in demand as construction and maintenance electricians, controls technicians, and marine engineers, among other careers. AVTEC’s program attracts detail-oriented students who enjoy solving complex technical projects – a passion Spencer discovered when he was 14 and helped his father with a building project.

Spencer continues to value teamwork. “I’d say the most fun part of industrial electricity is the cooperation among my peers to complete various labs and projects,” he says. Among the most challenging tasks was memorizing complex diagrams and functions in a mathematical logic class.

Students in Spencer’s field demonstrate proficiency in circuit analysis, including an ability to design, build, test and troubleshoot circuits and devices. Industrial electricity classes involve physics; industrial safety and health; renewable power; and an understanding of the National Electrical Code for construction and maintenance projects.

Founded in 1969, AVTEC is the only career and technical education center for post-secondary students statewide. “I would absolutely recommend AVTEC to anyone interested in the trades,” Spencer says.

While his time away from studies is limited as graduation day approaches, Spencer says that taking a break helps. “I’m putting all my efforts into studying,” he says, “but I do allow myself downtime.” He enjoys reading, hiking, fishing and composing music.

“Whenever the going gets tough, ask for help, whether it’s from family, peers or Him up above,” Spencer says. He encourages other students to get enough rest, eat healthy foods, and avoid drugs and alcohol.

“Respect your body,” he says. “The effort you put into your studies will determine how successful you are at them. You are accountable for your actions.”

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. And while the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

159_MT_Rebekah_FB-IN‘I want to work on stories that are inclusive and meaningful’

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Rebekah Hartman. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

A University of Alaska student graduating in 2021, Rebekah Hartman is the daughter of Michael and Angela Hartman. Her maternal grandparents are Alice and Rudy Demientieff of Holy Cross. Rebekah’s hometown is Wasilla. 

When Rebekah Hartman discovered the award-winning animated children’s program “Steven Universe,” a world opened up to her.

“Those are the types of shows I want to work on,” she said. The Cartoon Network adventure series tells the story of friends protecting their own kind in a fictionalized world. “Growing up, I did not really know anything about LGTTQ+ people — I thought they were strange. It was shows like ‘Steven Universe’ that made me realize I was wrong.”

Rebekah has earned Doyon Foundation scholarships throughout her college years as she pursues a bachelor’s degree in printmaking from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

“What attracts me to animation is that, first of all, it’s beautiful and second is the impact that animated stories can have,” she said. “I want to work on stories that are meaningful and inclusive.”

An active volunteer focused on projects to benefit Alaska Native people, Rebekah served as student club secretary of the Alaska Native Social Workers Association in the 2019 – 2020 school year. The UAF group’s purpose includes service to others and promoting awareness of Alaska Native cultures in the state. At the winter holidays, Rebekah helped make greeting cards for the Fairbanks Native Association Elder Program. She has volunteered with First Alaskans Institute, an Anchorage-based public policy and research group, and with the Elders and Youth Conference sponsored by Alaska Federation of Natives.

She hopes other students will be attentive to mental health, especially if interest in school or self confidence starts to slip. “What I’ve found helpful to address these emotions is going to counseling,” she said. “It helps clear my mind and to understand myself better.”

Rebekah plans to return to UAF in the fall to complete her bachelor’s degree and then attend art school to earn a master’s degree in animation.

“I want to work on a show that includes Indigenous people,” she said. “We are constantly forgotten in television and when we are included, there are usually stereotypes.”

Among her favorite animated series is “Molly of Denali,” a first-of-its kind children’s show whose main character is an Alaska Native person. “My goal,” Rebekah said, “is to create meaningful stories for people to watch.”

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

4E43AF6E-80C9-4DD9-B4CB-55ED6C13A31AToday we are excited to announce the winners of the drawing as part of our 2020 language revitalization interest survey, in partnership with Tanana Chiefs Conference. We were so happy that we had over 1,000 respondents. Baasee’ to everyone who shared their thoughts on how we can work together to lift up our languages in the Doyon region.

We randomly selected six winners of $50 gift cards and three winners  of $100 gift cards using the website, Wheel of Names. Congratulations to our $100 winners:

  • Stephanie Blue
  • Christine Erhart
  • Carra Geary

And our $50 winners:

  • Samantha J Quinn
  • Kelly Lincoln
  • Charles Wulf
  • Janet Wallace
  • Natalee Smoke
  • Allison Huntington

We will be sharing the results from the survey shortly, so please keep an eye on our blog, website and social media channels. Thank you again to everyone who participated!

159_MT_Noah_FB-INYou have to know who you’re not to know who you are”

We’d like to introduce you to another one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Noah Lovell. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

A University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) student graduating in May 2020, Noah Lovell is the son of Patrick and Sallie Lovell of Fairbanks, Alaska. Noah’s maternal grandparents are Lilian Evans of Rampart and Joseph Watson Burns of Fairbanks; his maternal great-grandparents are Thomas G. Evans of Rampart and Sally Woods Evans Hudson of Rampart. Paternal grandparents are Yoshiko Yamamoto of Kyoto, Japan, and John Lovell of Chelan, Washington. 

Noah earned Morris Thompson competitive scholarships throughout his college years; he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing. Noah’s hometown is Fairbanks, Alaska.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations on becoming a member of the UAF Class of 2020. Spring semester in Alaska and around the world was upended because of the coronavirus pandemic. How did life change for you?

Noah Lovell: The pandemic and everything going on with it has been the biggest challenge I’ve faced during my education. For a social person like me, distancing because of the virus was difficult. I don’t know where I’d be without my family, friends and faith. I went from having most of my classes held in person to all of them being online.

But it’s also been an amazing reset: UAF is using technology so that students can continue to see their professors and classmates weekly. This challenging time shook the university and all of Alaska, but it has also revealed our resilience.

DF: Like a lot of us, you’ve used this upheaval to take stock of life.

NL: I’ve found a lot of wisdom in these words: “You have to know who you are not to know who you are.” What this means to me is to know what you like but focus more on what you love. I like to paint, and I love to write and play the violin. I’m also very happy and joyful and love to encourage others. I have figured out that I am not a mean person, but extremely easy-going with a lot of dedication to the things I love. I have found my identity and that makes everything else worthwhile.

Don’t let anyone box you in and don’t put anyone else in a box. Take a step back and evaluate the current situation of your life. Ask yourself what could be changed for the better and write it down. Give yourself time to be a student as well as to have fun with family and friends. It’s a balance, for sure.

DF: Does an example come to mind? Maybe a time when you’ve achieved that balance between school and time with friends?

NL: I’m a full-time student but I still manage to get involved in my community. One of the rewards is that you never know who you’ll meet.

For instance, it was a friend’s birthday back in the fall and he wanted to celebrate by having a group of us spend time at a local soup kitchen. I thought we were going to get dirty and work in the kitchen, but they had enough volunteers and so we were invited to sit and talk with people who were eating that day.

I met this awesome guy who truly knew the art of storytelling. A while later, when my mother, grandma and I visited the Fairbanks Correctional Center as part of a prison ministry, there was the man I met at the soup kitchen, visiting an inmate just like in the story he told me. We joked with each other and then he went his way and I went mine. You truly never know who you’re going to impact, and that kind of surprise keeps life interesting.

DF: Is taking time to evaluate life helping shape your plans after graduation?

NL:  My current long-term goal is to earn a master’s degree from the College of Theology and Ministry at Oral Roberts University and work in ministry. I would love to continue on to get a Doctorate in Theology, but it’s always one step at a time. This past year I’ve grown in my faith and because of this I’ve decided I’d like to further my education in something I’m truly passionate about.

DF: What’s it like spending summers among Alaska visitors? You’re an Alaska Native tour guide on the Riverboat Discovery, based in Fairbanks. The tour typically includes a visit to the Chena Indian village.

NL: The Riverboat Discovery is a wonderful opportunity that provided a strong foundation for me.

It’s an amazing job that allowed me to share the Alaska Native culture, specifically the Athabascan culture, with guests of Alaska. As a guide, I performed demonstrations in front of 300 to 800 people and learned valuable skills to carry into my future. The Riverboat has strong leadership and invested in developing its employees. As a guide I was provided customer service, leadership and mentoring training. I’m very thankful for the work experience and I believe it has helped me to develop skills to take into my future.

DF: How has earning a Morris Thompson competitive scholarship benefited you? Has it helped in ways that you didn’t anticipate?

NL: The Doyon Foundation has truly lifted me as a student. Receiving the Morris Thompson competitive scholarship was an honor and true blessing.

Being awarded scholarships from Doyon Foundation provided me with the resources to succeed in my degree and the confidence to excel in school. I was able to pay tuition, buy textbooks and other course-related expenses, and focus on my course load.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank God, my family and my friends who have continued to encourage and support me through my undergraduate education. A big thank you to Doyon Foundation and everyone who has helped me these past four years; here’s to the class of 2020!

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

 

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Photo courtesy of Kenneth Lu

We are pleased to share our June 2020 Native word of the month! Thank you to Allan Hayton for providing these Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in) translations: 

June = Vanan Ch’iighoo (Month When the Birds Lay Their Eggs)

Nihts’igwiheenjyaa = We will help each other.

Diihaa gogwantrii dai’, nihts’igwiheenjyaa goo’aii. = When we fall upon hard times, we must help one another.

 

For more translations, view our Native word of the month archives on the Foundation website.

We also invite you to access free online language-learning lessons by signing up for Doyon Languages Online! We currently have lessons available for HolikachukDenaakk’eBenhti Kenaga’ and Gwich’in, as well as a special set of Hän lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby. All interested learners may sign up and access the courses at no charge – sign up today!

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When work hours end, Im 100 percent a father” 

A medical student completing his residency in anesthesiology, John Williams graduated in May 2020 from Texas A&M College of Medicine. He is from Lake Jackson, Texas. 

With just days to go before graduating with his medical degree, John Williams considered what it takes to set a goal and meet it.

“My biggest tip for success is to make things happen for yourself,” he said.

“Whether you’re working on a big goal like furthering your education or a small goal like finishing an assignment, obstacles are always going to get in your way.”

His advice: Anticipate challenges without losing sight of success.

For instance, one response to setbacks may be to accept a finish that’s less than you’re capable of. Others may seek help — the right answer sometimes, John said, but not always.

“And some people are just going to continue to work and try different things until they find a way to finish perfectly. Be that person who does not give up,” he said.

John’s goals include becoming a pediatric anesthesiologist or a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist. His medical residency is in anesthesiology in Temple, Texas.

“Doyon Foundation made a gigantic difference my education,” he said. While students in his specialty may graduate with six-figure loan debt, John will start his career with a fraction of that amount — a fact he attributes to Doyon Foundation’s generosity. “This has been extremely helpful to my family and me,” he said.

John serves at a free clinic for underprivileged people and enjoys rock climbing and golf. He built a rock wall in an upstairs room at his house and practices there with his sons, aged 2 and 1.

“It’s challenging to be a big part of my kids’ lives as well as being a good student,” John said. He’s learned to treat time spent studying as work. “During work hours, I’m extremely focused and knock out my priorities. When work hours end, I am 100 percent a father and I forget about school.”

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

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“Your education is powerful and it’s yours. Just keep chugging along!”

A University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) student from Wasilla, Jasmine Gilpin earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting in May 2018. Her parents are Monica and Joe Gilpin of Wasilla. Jasmine’s maternal grandparents are Irma and Dave Arrants of Wasilla, and her paternal grandparents are Shirley and Ed Knox of Surprise, Arizona.

Jasmine: In January 2018, I started a semester-long internship in Anchorage at Alaska Permanent Capital Management (APCM) and was introduced to the financial planning industry. Financial planning and investment advising is the perfect career for me.

Doyon Foundation: Because it draws on your strengths.

Jasmine: Yes. It’s a career that involves helping people prepare for a financially secure future. The field is always changing and keeps you on your toes. It involves having to think strategically. I’ve found my passion.

Doyon Foundation: What’s on the horizon for you?

Jasmine: I’ve accepted a full-time position as an associate financial advisor at Alaska Permanent Capital Management. I plan to work there and complete my Series 65 license, which will qualify me as an investment advisor representative.

I’m excited to be finishing one milestone in my life – graduating from UAS – and beginning another. Doyon Foundation scholarships helped me pursue and finish my bachelor’s degree so that I’m graduating with minimal student loan debt.

Doyon Foundation: Your long-term plans include continuing your education in financial planning. What does that involve?

Jasmine: APCM offers amazing support and guidance to its employees. I’ll be working toward my Certified Financial Planner certification, which involves two years of on-the-job experience and an extensive exam.

Doyon Foundation: How did you manage obstacles on the way toward earning your degree?

Jasmine: For me, too much work and no play result in burnout and frustration. The biggest challenge in completing my degree was learning to balance work, a social life, and education.

I’ve learned over the years that I have to take time for myself to enjoy my hobbies, spend time with friends and family, and just living life to the fullest! Finding a balance can be difficult, but it’s necessary.

Doyon Foundation: It helps that you like to be outdoors.

Jasmine: In the winter I’m an extreme backcountry snowmobile rider and in summer I love to hike, camp, fish and hunt. I love the outdoors and try to spend as much time as possible enjoying all the activities that Alaska has to offer.

Doyon Foundation: You have real-world advice when it comes to college. What should other students know?

Jasmine: Obtaining a college degree can feel very difficult and overwhelming at times. Do not stop!

Taking even one class a semester is better than taking a complete break. Your education is something no one can ever take away from you. It’s powerful and it’s yours. Just keep chugging along!

Doyon Foundation: Any special thank-you’s?

Jasmine: My mom has been there through thick and thin, always cheering me on. Thank you, Mom!

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

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Doyon Foundation scholarships help me share diversity within health care-related discussions”

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Hannah Bagot. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

A graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Hannah Bagot is the daughter of Michael and Helen Bagot. Hannah is completing a master’s degree in health care administration and graduating in May 2021. Her hometown is Pleasanton, California. 

Hannah Bagot recalls searching out college programs to find one that matched her goals. It’s a path familiar to lots of students on their way to a rewarding career.

“I explored other majors in health care but they never seemed to be the right fit,” Hannah said, adding that obstacles like these can feel like failure.

“But through volunteering, working and internships, I eventually came to find the right profession for me,” she said. Hannah has volunteered at hospitals in North Carolina and in Utah, where she worked with a physical fitness program for children with special needs.

“My biggest piece of advice for other students is to take opportunities and try new things even if they’re not in your scope of interest or field of study. Everything can be a learning experience,” she said.

“You never know where you will pick up new skills, meet new people, or discover new passions. Try not to compare yourself with others.”

Scholarships from Doyon Foundation have helped Hannah attend schools to gain professional and academic skills for success in health care. “Doyon Foundation has made it possible for me to pursue a graduate degree in a field I’m passionate about,” she said. “Doyon Foundation scholarships have given me the opportunity to share diversity within health care-related discussions.”

Hannah’s plans include a summer internship in the strategy department of Atrium Health, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based nonprofit with hospitals and medical clinics in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Her long-term goals after graduation involve seeking an administrative fellowship and work in a health care organization.

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

 

159_MT_Angeli_FB-IN

I’m forever grateful for help I’m receiving from Doyon Foundation. Baasee!”

We’d like to introduce you to one of our amazing Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipients: Angeli Kristovich. Even though we are unable to hold the Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic scholarship fundraiser this year, we still want to highlight our 2019 – 2020 Morris Thompson students and honor their hard work and achievements.

Angeli Kristovich is the daughter of Carol Endresen of Fairbanks and the late Richard Kristovich of Ketchikan. Her paternal grandparents are Patrick and Jeannie Kristovich of Washington; her maternal grandparents are Angeline Evans of Koyukuk and Carl Noble of Fairbanks.

Angeli attends the University of Alaska Anchorage-Mat-Su campus where she’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in property management and real estate. She anticipates graduating in 2023. Angeli is from a family of Ketchikan fishermen.

Doyon Foundation: Congratulations on being awarded a Morris Thompson competitive scholarship. How did life prepare you for this moment?

Angeli Kristovich: I dropped out of high school at 15 and earned my GED. It was scary to find myself in back in class as a non-traditional student who had been out of high school for 15 years. It was hard getting back into school at first, but I learned there are many outlets and resources to help.

Studying hard is key and being involved on campus is important too. As I made more friends and used the tutoring center, the campus felt more like a home away from home rather than a scary place full of people who are smarter than me.

DF: That will sound familiar to lots of students who find their first semester at college pretty intimidating.

AK: My first semester was scary! I would go to the library and try to study but, needless to say, it was super overwhelming. So I’d check Facebook and other social media and end up spending time on my phone when I should’ve been studying.

I was able — luckily — to realize this trap. I ended up deleting all of my social media profiles. Since then I have felt freer! My decision might sound extreme, but for me it felt great. I have more time to study and I’m focusing on what I need to be focusing on.

DF: You’re involved in campus life to help concentrate on schoolwork and navigate college life in general?

AK: Yes. Volunteering and school work keep me very busy. I’m student government president at the Mat-Su campus and I’m vice president of the Alaska Native Cultures Club. I write for the Mat-Su Monitor, the student-run newspaper that’s distributed throughout the Mat-Su Valley.

When I’m not volunteering or involved with school stuff, I spend time with my husband and family. I stay very busy and out of trouble.

DF: Scholarship recipients like you nearly always mention specific things that would have been hurdles without Doyon Foundation help. Anything come to mind?

AK: I want to say thank you to all the donors who make Doyon Foundation scholarships possible. Without your help, my life as a full-time student would have been much harder. The Morris Thompson scholarship helped me with money to buy books and pay for gas to get back and forth to school.

I know my Grandma Angeline Evans is looking down on me and so proud that I’m finally putting all the wisdom she taught me into practice. Getting an education will open a lot of doors in my life. I’m forever grateful for all the help that I’m receiving from Doyon Foundation. Baasee!

DF: What’s on the horizon for you?

AK: I’m a wife and full-time student. After graduation, I want to be a real estate agent to help low-income families get into their dream home.

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students forward their education. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. While the event itself is not happening this year, we still welcome your support! You may make a secure online donation on our website or mail a check to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Ave., Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701. To direct your donation to the Morris Thompson scholarship fund, simply note “Morris Thompson scholarship fund” in the notes section of the online form or on the memo line of your check. Thank you for supporting our students!

BertinaOur language is the missing link to our identity”

Bertina Titus is the daughter of Carol Reid of Minto and the late Carl H. Ramay Jr. of Missouri. Bertinas maternal grandparents are Neal and Geraldine Charlie of Minto; her paternal grandparents are Florence and Melvin Ockert of Missouri. Bertina wishes to recognize her husband, Gabriel Titus; children Leanna Knight and Tehya, Desirae, Eliah, Asher, Traeton and Jerren Titus; brother Byron Charlie; and sister Annie Silas. 

Bertina lives in Wasilla and is a language specialist whose employers include the Yukon-Kuskokiwm School District and Doyon Foundation. She received a Doyon Foundation scholarship while enrolled in the University of Alaska Fairbanks where she studied accounting and rural development. Bertinas language is Benhti Kenaga, spoken by Alaska Native people of the lower Tanana region

Doyon Foundation: You see a connection between the example of Elders and language learning efforts today. Can you say more about that?

Bertina Titus: Our Elders were very strong in all they did because they operated out of every part of their Native values. This is why they lived and endured so much not only for their survival but our survival as well.

My grandparents Neal and Geraldine Charlie are among people who were instrumental in teaching me to speak my language. The list includes my husband, Gabriel; his grandmother Elsie Titus; and Sarah Silas. I’ve learned from some of the nicest people I know.

I truly feel that our language is the missing link to our identity. Without this language that God gave us, we may never reach the full potential that God created us to be.

DF: You consider yourself a language learner even while you’re helping to teach others.

BT: Yes, I’m still trying to learn. I’ve worked with Doyon Foundation on video lessons and with Susan Paskavan with Yukon-Kuskokiwm School District. One of the best language-learning techniques is repetition. Hands-on strategies, such as activities at home, would be good too even though it can seem hard at times to put this approach into practice.

DF: What advice do you have if people are unable to practice regularly?

BT: A big challenge is if you have nobody to speak the language with, someone who really understands it, or if you’re just not using it every day. To overcome challenges I just still try. I have the language in my heart and keep trying.

DF: Your hopes for language learning including someday moving to Minto where you were raised. There’s a link between fond memories of your growing-up years and your passion for language learning today.

BT: I loved living in Minto. I remember playing outdoors a lot; we felt pretty free! And when I was around my grandparents I’d hear the language being spoken. In school we were taught some basic Benhti Kenaga’ but not very much.

I would love to move back to Minto and teach the language in a class during school or after school. This would be a way to revive our language because it would involve others, not just school kids.

DF: Something you’d like others to know?

BT: I truly want to be a fluent speaker so that I may teach and learn all I can to help others. I want to be able to tell my grandpa someday when I see him in Heaven that I succeeded in his dream — and my dream — of helping others to learn our Native language. Everyone should have an interest in our God-given gift!

About Doyon Languages Online

Through the Doyon Language Online project, Doyon Foundation is developing introductory online lessons for Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). The project officially launched in summer 2019 with the first four courses, now available for free to all interested learners.

Doyon Languages Online is funded by a three-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), awarded in 2016, and an additional three-year grant from the Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP), awarded in 2017.

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we believe it is important to recognize people who are committed to learning and perpetuating their ancestral language. We are pleased to share some of these “language champion” profiles with you.

If you know a language champion, please nominate him or her by contacting our language program director at foundation@doyon.com. Language champions may also complete our profile questionnaire here. You may learn more about our language revitalization program on our website, or sign up to access the free Doyon Languages Online courses here.

108_Join Our Team Promotion - updated_FB-INApply by June 3

Doyon Foundation is looking for a new administrative assistant for our office in Fairbanks. If you are interested in being part of a dedicated team working to support students and revitalize Doyon region languages, we encourage you to learn more and apply today. The position closes June 3.

Our administrative assistant works closely with the Foundation executive director, handles administrative duties and provides support to our board of directors. This position also works with the Foundation team to support our language revitalization program, scholarship program, community relations and fund development.

A typical day may include answering the phone, greeting visitors, scheduling meetings, arranging travel, taking meeting minutes, creating documents, filing, handling mail, and assisting other team members as needed.

To apply, you’ll need to be a high school graduate or equivalent, have three years office experience, be able to type 45 WPM and use Microsoft Office programs, and have a valid driver’s license and access to a registered, insured vehicle.

If you are interested in our administrative assistant position, please view the job description and apply online by June 3. And if you know someone who may be interested, please help spread the word!

156_Fall Scholarship Promotion Extended_FB-INExtra time to apply for competitive and basic scholarships for fall 2020

To give our students additional time during this challenging period, we have extended the Doyon Foundation fall scholarship deadline until Monday, June 1 at 11:59 p.m. This is the new deadline to apply for basic and competitive scholarships for the fall 2020 semester.

For the fall 2020 semester, we will be awarding:

  • Competitive scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $9,000 (see our website for details on the wide range of competitive awards!)
  • $1,200 basic scholarships for full-time students (undergraduates taking 12 or more credits, or 9 or more credits for graduate students)
  • $800 basic scholarships for part-time students (undergraduates taking 3 to 11 credits, or 2 to 8 credits for graduate students)

A reminder that competitive scholarships are awarded through a competitive review process, while basic scholarships are awarded to all students who meet the eligibility guidelines and submit a completed application by the appropriate deadline. Also, our basic scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Note that you don’t have to fill out separate applications for competitive and basic awards.

In order to be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Be enrolled to Doyon, Limited or be the child of an original enrollee
  • Be accepted to an accredited college, university, technical or vocational school
  • Meet our minimum GPA requirements
  • Be enrolled in the required minimum number of credits

Get all the details on scholarship eligibility and application requirements by reviewing our scholarship resource handbook.

To apply, visit our online scholarship application portal. If you are a first-time applicant, you will need to create a new account. If you need help, see our step-by-step account creation instructions or view our detailed application instructions.

Once you are logged in, select “apply” and the system will ask for an access code. If you do not already have an access code, please call 907.459.2048 or email us at foundation@doyon.com to obtain one.

It is very important to log in to your student account before the scholarship application deadline to check that you have submitted all the required materials. Note that official transcripts are required for the fall scholarship deadline.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact our scholarship program at foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.