February 2016

By Allan Hayton

Doyon Foundation Language Revitalization Program Director

Evan Gardner and Susannah Ciotti returned to Fairbanks for a month-long series of Where Are Your Keys (WAYK) workshops, hosted by Doyon Foundation in January. The WAYK system is a comprehensive method for revitalizing endangered languages and skills.

Athabascan languages, as with all Alaska Native languages, are endangered, some with only a handful of speakers. As we are losing more and more first language Athabascan speakers, it is important to find engaging ways for young learners to begin picking up the languages.

WAYK is a fun method for beginning learners, using sign language to avoid the use of English in the learning setting. Many of the signs, or techniques, such as “angel on your shoulder,” “mumble,” “slow down,” and “again” are geared toward beginning learners and the challenges they face. WAYK trainings give a good picture of what language revitalization looks and feels like by bringing together elders and speakers with new learners. It is always a great experience seeing people light up when they learn something new about their language.

Day-long refresher/introduction workshops were held focusing in on three languages: Gwich’in (January 2 in Fairbanks); Lower Tanana (January 16 in Fairbanks); and Upper Tanana (January 23 in Northway). Following the workshops were daily classes in each of the three languages. There were also participants from other Athabascan languages, as well as Ahtna and Alutiiq languages. Doyon Foundation assisted Grant Rebne gather 14 Ahtna Language Learners (ALL) for a language workshop. Providing the space is a great way for Doyon Foundation to help out another language revitalization effort.

The January 2 workshop was a great success, and in the follow-up sessions Evan and Susannah worked closely with Effie Kokrine Charter School language instructor Kenneth Frank on employing WAYK in his classroom. They also visited the Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’atoh Language Nest and Lower Tanana sessions with Sarah Silas at Denakkanaaga’, providing community organizing tips for each of the sites and language events they visited.

The month of WAYK workshops brought together the key teachers and perpetuators of culture and language learning in their communities, and there were many highlights. I was especially moved to see the people of Nenana and Minto coming together in the January 16 Lower Tanana workshop. It was also great having Lower Tanana and Gwich’in groups meeting together as one before dividing into focused language learning groups. This was also the first time Doyon Foundation has held a WAYK training in a rural community, Northway. In addition to the sessions at the Youth Center, WAYK was brought to the school where young students were led on “language learning walks” through the school.

It was a very good month, and we are happy for all those who attended. It is their participation that made this series of WAYK workshops a great success. Photos from the January workshops have been posted to the Doyon Foundation Facebook Page.

The staff of Doyon Foundation worked as a team on the 2016 WAYK series of language learning and teaching workshops. I would like to express my gratitude to the staff for their assistance on promotion, making phone calls, sending emails, organizing, making moose soup, and sacrificing a couple of Saturdays for these workshops.

Mahsi’ choo ts’a’ gwiinzii adak’ohtii, thank you and take care.

Anchorage Chamber of Commerce has an opening for an Event Coordinator. They are seeking candidates with a passion for the mission of the Anchorage Chamber. Candidates must possess a proven record of exceptional time-management, organizational and multi-tasking skills. The responsibilities of this position require a self-starter who can work independently and equally important, must be work well and efficiently with staff and volunteers. This position has the flexibility to be active in promotion of events and experience with social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is required.

The job description is attached and can be accessed at:


Anchorage Chamber Event Coordinator.pdf

*Alaska Community Foundation Scholarships – Deadlines and criteria vary*

ACS scholarships are made possible by passionate community members committed to helping Alaskans pursue their educational dreams.

Each of our scholarships have specific criteria, deadlines and requirements.

For more information, review the scholarship guidelines on their website:



*GVEA Scholarships – Deadline March 4, 2016*

GVEA awards eight (8) scholarships each year.  The first seven are awarded in April, and the eighth is awarded in August.

To be eligible for any GVEA scholarship, the applicant (or member of the applicant’s immediate family) must be a member of Golden Valley Electric Association and receive electric power from GVEA at his/her principal residence.

More information and application can be found online:



*BP Scholars Program – Deadline March 15, 2016*

The new BP scholarship program is now open for students to apply.

More information and application can be found online:



*Student Veterans of America – Deadline April 4, 2016*

Every student veteran across the country currently enrolled in a four-year institution is eligible for at least one of the scholarships being offered.

More information and application can be found online:



*Teacher.org Scholarship – Deadline April 1, 2016*

Requirements and entry rules can be found here:



*Fog Woman Coffee – Deadline May 31, 2016*

Fog Woman Coffee is offering a $1500.00 higher education scholarship for all Alaska Natives students.  Students must be enrolled at least part-time and show proof of AK native ancestry.

More information and application can be found online:



*Merchants Exchange Scholarship Fund – Deadline May 31, 2016*

The Merchants Exchange Scholarship is designed for students in Maritime Biology and Maritime Science programs, and awards up to $2,000 annually to students in Maritime and/or International Business/Trade programs.

More information and application can be found online:



*ReservationCounter.com – Deadline April 15, 2016*

The Spring 2016 General Scholarship Award opportunity is now available and accepting student applications through April 15, 2016 with a scholarship to be awarded in the amount of$1500 USD.

The scholarship link for student applications is located here:



*Abbott and Fenner Scholarship Program – Deadline June 10, 2016*

Abbott & Fenner Business Consultants are pleased to be able to continue with their scholarship program for the 9th year.  They will be awarding up to $1,000 to the winner(s) each year.

More information and application can be found online:



*Robert B. McMillen Foundation Art Scholarship – Deadline May 6, 2016*

Scholarships are open to any student wishing to further their education at the university/college level, in Washington or Alaska, majoring in the area of Visual Arts. Although need and merit will be considered, 70% of our selection criteria is based on talent and potential in the art area. So, creativity is highly encouraged!

More information and application can be found online:


At our 2015 annual membership meeting, Helena Jacobs was elected to the Doyon Foundation board of directors for a three-year term. Incumbent Julie Anderson was also re-elected for a two-year term, and incumbent Joshua Peter was re-elected for a three-year term.

Helena Jacobs

Helena Jacobs is the Foundation’s newest board member.

The Foundation is pleased to welcome Jacobs, who is the daughter of Dee Olin and David Hoffman. Her maternal grandparents are the late Lillian and Fred Olin, and her adopted maternal grandparents are Lorraine and the late John Honea. Her roots are in Ruby, but she grew up throughout Alaska and currently resides in Anchorage with her husband, Torin, and their children.

The Foundation supported Jacobs in obtaining her bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and Spanish from Willamette University, and her master’s in public policy from University of California Berkeley. Her professional background has focused on promoting educational advancement, career readiness, capacity building and leadership development. She currently runs her own small business, Benozaadleyo Consulting, providing professional support to nonprofit and government agencies statewide.

“I benefited greatly from the programs the Foundation runs, and I feel called to give back. It is an honor to serve in a capacity that would allow me to support other Alaska Native students, and offer what I have to the organization that helped me so much,” she said.


Denakkanaaga is pleased to announce the dates and theme for its 2016 elders and youth conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Building Stronger Native Communities- Treating Each Other with Love and Respect.” The logo was drawn by Gordon Cleveland of Hughes. The conference will be held on June 7,8 and 9th in Hughes, Alaska, with June 6 and 10 being travel days. More information on the conference will be made available in late March.

As part of President Obama’s Generation Indigenous (“Gen-I”) initiative to remove barriers to success for Native Youth, Acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Lawrence S. Roberts today announced the launch of the 2016 Indian Affairs Student Leadership Summer Institute, a paid 10-week summer internship program with the agency that begins in early June. The Institute will provide American Indian and Alaska Native post-secondary students with a unique opportunity to learn about federal policymaking and develop management and leadership skills within high-profile offices throughout the Indian Affairs organization. Roberts made the announcement at the National Congress of American Indians’ “Tribal Nations Legislative Summit 114th Congress Executive Council” meeting.

See more here: idc1-033241

The Associated General Contractors of Alaska, Inc. (AGC of Alaska) & Construction Education Foundation, Inc. (CEF) scholarship program is intended for students who wish to pursue a career in the construction industry or related fields such as accounting, insurance & bonding, or human resources. Scholarships will only be awarded to individuals who plan to live and work in the state of Alaska. Complete the online application at http://www.agcak.org/agc–construction-education-foundation-scholarships.html.

Applications will be accepted at the Anchorage AGC office until 4:00 pm on April 1, 2016. AGC of Alaska & CEF will award 6 scholarships total; two

$5,000 scholarships and four 2,500 scholarships. Successful scholarship recipients will be notified in writing by June 4, 2016. The awards will be presented at the AGC of Alaska Annual Golf Tournament reception June 18,

2016 at the AGC of Alaska offices. For more information, call Kathleen Castle at (907) 222-0999 or send email to kathleen@alaskacef.org

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