May 2014

Here is a wonderful article on language revitalization. “If we are going to revitalize languages, then we need a sea change in value systems across our state.” -Xh’unei Lance A. Twitchell of Juneau.

Transparent Language, Inc. and the Doyon Foundation today announced the launch of the Doyon Foundation 7000 Partnership. The goal of the partnership is to create leading-edge software for the teaching and learning of the Athabascan languages of Alaska’s Doyon region, which encompasses approximately 12.5 million acres in Interior Alaska.

The Doyon Foundation 7000 Partnership is the latest initiative of Transparent Language’s 7000 Languages Project. With approximately 7,100 living languages in the world today, the goal of the 7000 Languages Project is to create world-class web- and mobile-delivered learning materials for the 7,000 languages beyond the top 100 or so that attract significant commercial support.

The technology for the 7000 Languages Project is donated by Transparent Language, but the passion and expertise for each project is brought together by regionally-focused 7000 Partnerships, of which the Doyon Foundation 7000 Partnership is the latest.

The Doyon Foundation 7000 Partnership is an initiative of the Doyon Foundation, a private, Alaska-based nonprofit working to strengthen language and culture within the Doyon region. “Providing cultural opportunities and a strong demonstration of Native traditional language and culture is at the core of Doyon Foundation’s mission and vision,” said Doris Miller, Foundation executive director. “This partnership will enable us to make significant strides toward the revitalization of our Native languages, which is critical for their survival.”

The 7000 Partnership also responds to a directive from the people and entities of the Doyon region to develop computer-assisted language-learning tools that support the preservation and revitalization of the region’s languages.

Transparent Language develops transformational language-learning and teaching software for serious language schools and programs in the US government and elsewhere. “We do deep work in less-common languages because our customers need to respond quickly and effectively to humanitarian crises or conflicts anywhere in the world,” says Michael Quinlan, CEO of Transparent Language. “The same technology is perfect for creating powerful learning software for the world’s under-resourced languages, so we created the pro bono 7000 Languages Project to meet that need.”

There are nine Athabascan languages in the Doyon region: Benhti Kenaga’ (Tanana), Deg Xinag, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Han, Holikachuk, Tanacross, and Née’ aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). The Doyon Foundation 7000 Partnership will initially focus on one or two of those and later extend to the remaining languages. Potentially the partnership could evolve to include additional Alaska Native languages.

More information at

Dear Students,

This is a reminder to students who received a Spring 2014 Doyon Foundation scholarship and applied for the Summer 2014 or Fall 2014 scholarship.  If you completed your scholarship application by the deadline and were a spring 2014 scholarship recipient, it is required that you submit your unofficial (if you are a summer 2014 applicant)/Official(if you are a fall 2014 applicant)transcripts showing final spring grades by today, May 23, 2014 .  You can email them to or send them to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Avenue, Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701.

For more information, see Doyon Foundation’s scholarship application guidelines at or contact Maurine Isaacson, Scholarship Program Manager at or (907) 459-2048.

When Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient Raymond Pitka Jr. looks at Alaska’s youth, he sees potential and possibilities, waiting to be uncovered and developed.


“No one knows the full reach of a person, and that in itself is exciting and sometimes sad. I often think about the Boston bombings and the people who had died there, especially an 8-year old boy. We won’t know this boy’s full reach in life. Perhaps he would have brought many great things to existence had he lived,” Raymond shares.

“That’s how I see youths in Alaska, and supporting them through the Foundation is one great way in achieving that.”

As a Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient, Raymond understands the importance of that support. “I feel greatly honored to be a recipient of a Morris Thompson competitive scholarship. It has definitely allowed me to focus more on school work rather than worry about financial issues,” said Raymond, who received a $3,000 Morris Thompson undergraduate award for the 2013 – 2014 school year.

The scholarship is helping Raymond attend Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, where he will graduate in April 2015 with a degree in accounting. He plans to attend graduate school to obtain a master’s degree and become a certified public accountant.

Raymond shares that the biggest challenge he has faced during his education is being hard-of-hearing. “However, with support from my doctor and family as well as friends, I have no trouble with my learning abilities at this moment,” he says.

“There are going to be times in life when you are feeling super down and out, but that doesn’t mean you should give up so easily,” he says. “The road to destination is often the adventure everyone is looking for and they missed it because they’re too focused on the goal far in the future. Take each day at a time is my philosophy.”

Originally from Fairbanks, Raymond is the son of Raymond Pitka Sr. and Debra Pitka, and the grandson of Sam and Elizabeth Pitka, and Donald and Marie Head. He has two brothers, Jonothan Head and Christopher Pitka, and an older sister, Shirley Pitka.

“I have always relied on family for support. They’re always there for me, through the thick and thin,” Raymond says.

Read more student profiles and success stories on the Doyon Foundation website.

A total of 92 Alaskans donated to Doyon Foundation through the Pick. Click. Give. program in 2014, giving $5,600 of their PFDs to benefit student scholarships. Last year, 73 Alaskans donated a total of $5,900 to Doyon Foundation through Pick. Click. Give.Image

“We are so grateful to the donors who are supporting our students by sharing a portion of their 2014 PFDs,” said Doris Miller, Foundation executive director.

Although the 2014 PFD application deadline has passed, Alaskans still have the opportunity to add or change a Pick. Click. Give. donation. Simply visit the PFD website and click on the “Add or Change Your Pick. Click. Give Donation” button on the right-hand side of the page.

According to Pick. Click. Give., more Alaskans than ever donated a record amount to Alaska’s nonprofits. A total of $2.77 million was donated (a 13 percent growth over 2013), with an average of $104 per donor (up from $94 in 2013. There were a total of 26,773 donors this year, equaling a 4.8 percent participation rate.

Doyon Foundation awarded a total of 75 scholarships totaling $49,600 to students enrolled in summer semester classes. The scholarships included 26 $400 basic part-time scholarships, and 49 $800 basic full-time scholarships.

The next scholarship application deadline is November 15 for basic and competitive scholarships for the spring 2015 semester. For more information, click here or contact Maurine Isaacson, scholarship program manager, at or 907.459.2049.

The class of 2014 was celebrated at the  Doyon Foundation Graduation Reception, which took place May 9 in Fairbanks. A total of 40 people, including staff, board members, donors, supporters, family and friends, attended the reception. See photos from the event on Facebook.


The event featured alumni speaker Paul Mountain, a graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) and a current Foundation board member, as well as graduate speaker Lessa Peter, who graduated from UAF this spring and currently works in the communications department at Doyon, Limited.

Graduates had the opportunity to introduce themselves to reception attendees, and the afternoon culminated with light refreshments and visiting.

The Foundation will distribute the 2014 Graduate Yearbook e-newsletter this spring. Those interested in receiving the yearbook and other Foundation news are encouraged to sign up for the Foundation e-newsletter at

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