February 2017


SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY: The Airport Operators’ Council is now accepting applications for a 2017 Aviation Scholarship. Applications must be submitted by March 31, 2017. Email fai@alaska.gov for more details!16903480_1313961698650506_3899884282606605498_o

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Doyon Foundation 2017 spring student dinner! Nearly 50 guests, including students, alumni and donors, enjoyed the event, which took place February 10 in Fairbanks. View more event photos on Facebook.

We were especially honored to welcome our special guests, including Al Sr. and Betty Ketzler; Foundation board president Lanien Livingston, vice president Paul Mountain, new member LaVerne Demientieff; and Doyon, Limited chair Walter “Wally” Carlo.

The menu included fish strips, half dried and baked salmon, moose soup, a salmon casserole, cupcakes and blueberry dessert, contributed by Paul Mountain, Doris Miller, Maurine McGinty, Susan Paskvan, Lessa Peter and LaVerne Demientieff.

In addition to the meal, we had a Valentine’s Day card-making table, and Susan Paskvan led a paper/rock/scissors game in Denaakk’e!

As if the delicious food and fun activities weren’t enough, many guests went home as winners of some fabulous door prizes, including:

  • Woman’s fleece sweater
  • Coffee mug and $25 Starbucks gift card
  • Star Wars movie basket
  • Valentine’s baking basket
  • Fleece blanket
  • Round-trip ticket on Ravn Alaska
  • Beaded key chain and cardholder, donated by alumnus Allan Hayton
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Social Work gift bags filled with coffee mugs, candy, notepads and more, donated by board member LaVerne Demientieff
  • $25 Fred Meyer gift card, donated by alumna Sheryl Meierotto

We were thrilled with the wonderful turnout at our spring student dinner, and can’t wait for the fall event! Keep an eye on our website, blog and Facebook page, or subscribe to our email list, for details on future events – we hope to see you there!

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

The Johnson O’Malley Alaska Native Youth Basketball Tournament to be held March 13-15th at Tanana Middle School in Fairbanks is in need of the following volunteers:

· 12 Coaches (2 Elementary, 5 Middle School, 5 High School)

· Timekeepers

· Scorekeepers

· Concession Stand

· Collectors

· Monitors

If interested call Niki Guthrie at 452-1648.

Continuing a lifetime of language work

Ruth Ridley and John Ritter

Ruth recording lessons with John Ritter at the Yukon Native Language Centre

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we are noticing a group of people who are committed and dedicating their own time 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.

Ruth Ridley is a fluent speaker of the Eagle, Alaska, dialect of the Hän Athabascan language. She has been a language champion for many years, following in the footsteps of her late mother Louise Paul. Ruth’s lifetime work of transcribing and translating Hän language began when she was a child. “I started off doing transcriptions for Hän language that mom recorded with John Ritter (of the Yukon Native Language Centre),” she explains.

Ruth Ridley

Ruth at home with sewing projects

Ruth was brought up by her parents Louise and Susie Paul in a mining camp just downriver from Eagle. “We grew up in Coal Creek mining camp. Our families lived there, summer and winter,” Ruth shares. “My mom’s parents were Eliza and Joe Malcolm in Eagle, and my dad’s parents were Elizabeth and Paul Josie in Old Crow.” Ruth has many good memories of growing up in the Eagle area. “There are creeks with grayling, and beaver ponds, and lots of porcupine, and lots of moose, caribou, and a lot of grizzly bear,” she says.

Ruth sometimes spent all summer with her grandparents. “We would go to fish camp with my grandma and grandpa and they spoke Loucheux or Gwich’in. My grandma didn’t speak English, so we had to speak to her in Hän, and then she would talk back to us in Gwich’in. So that’s how we learned too,” Ruth recalls.

Over the years, Ruth has maintained language connections with her Hän and Gwich’in-speaking relatives in Canada, attending workshops in both Dawson City and at the Yukon Native Language Centre (YNLC) at Yukon College, Whitehorse. “My dad’s sister was Edith Josie, who did lot of language work in Old Crow,” Ruth says.

Ruth has been involved in Hän language work since the late 1970s when she collaborated with professor Michael Krauss at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) to develop the first practical writing system for the language. She composed a collection of stories in Hän based on traditional village life, Eagle Hän Huchʼinn Hòdök, published in bilingual format by the Alaska Native Language Center in 1983. Also in that year, she served as Alaska chair of an important Athabaskan language conference held at UAF, a gathering that attracted participants from throughout Canada and the United States. She also served as principal speaker in a three-week Hän practicum offered as a part of CoLang 2016 at UAF.

Recently (2015-2016) Ruth has been a Hän language consultant for Doyon Foundation, working with YNLC linguist John Ritter to record and transcribe a set of basic Hän language lessons. These lessons will be shared first as a booklet with accompanying audio, and later posted on the internet as part of the Doyon Languages Online project, a partnership of Doyon Foundation and 7,000 Languages.

On the importance of creating language lessons such as these, Ruth shared, “I think it would be easier to speak in sentences than just one word at a time. And that way kids can look at the words and they could pronounce it, like my grandchildren they say they’re hungry and they’re thirsty in Hän.”

Ruth feels language is important because “you could really find out about your culture and the kind of person you are, if you could understand and speak your language. I think it’s important that people learn where they come from and where they are going.”

Ruth is looking forward to sharing these lessons with learners. “I guess the biggest challenge is to get started and get going in the right direction,” she remarks. “If they could get started with these lessons then they’ll know which way they’re supposed to go.”

Ruth is also curious about the next steps of posting the lessons online through the Doyon Languages Online project. “I’m just waiting for them to get on the internet to see how people like the language, or how useful they would be for teaching themselves on the computer,” she says.

According to the Alaska Native Language Center, “Hän is the Athabascan language spoken in Alaska at the village of Eagle and in Yukon Territory at Dawson. A writing system was established in the 1970s, and considerable documentation has been carried out at the Alaska Native Language Center as well as at the Yukon Native Language Centre in Whitehorse.”

For more information about how to get copies of Ruth’s Hän language lessons, or to learn more about the Doyon Languages Online project, please contact Allan Hayton at 907.459.2162 or haytona@doyon.com.

Woman and child

Mary “Dzan” Johnson and daughter Lena, Fort Yukon circa 1916. Photo courtesy of Allan Hayton.

See below for our February Native word of the month in Gwich’in and Deg Xinag!

Gwich’in

Dink’indhat – He or she grew up.
Shahan Gwichyaa Zhee dink’indhat. – My mom grew up in Fort Yukon.
Shiti’ Natick dink’indhat. – My father grew up in Natick.

Listen to an audio recording. Hai’ (thank you) to Allan Hayton for providing the translation.

Deg Xinag

Nadhiyonh – He or she grew up in
Singonh Deloychet nadhiyonh. – My mom grew up in Holy Cross.
Sito’ Qay Xichux nadhiyonh. – My dad grew up in Anchorage.

Listen to an audio recording. Dogidinh (thank you) to George Demientieff Holly for providing the translation.

Each month, a new Native word or phrase and definition will be shared on our website, as well as on our blog and Facebook page, along with an audio recording of the pronunciation.

Have a translation in another language? Share it with us on Facebook!

Have an idea for a Native Word of the Month? Please email your idea to haytona@doyon.com.

See the latest edition of the Alaska Language Revitalization Digest below.

Alaska Language Revitalization Digest Vol 2 No 1 2.13.17.pdf

Please join Denakkanaaga to support their elder programs and activities by attending a fundraiser on March 15 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, which will feature a moose soup dinner for $10, music, and both silent and live auctions.

For more information, call Denakkanaaga at 907-451-3900.

2017-fundraiser-flyer

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