June 2017


Kaylen’s mother is Shari Rempp, whose parents are Glenn and Marjorie Buss. Kaylen’s father is Chris Demientieff, whose parents are Rudy and Alice Demientieff. Kaylen’s hometown is Anchorage.

Kaylen“The greatest challenge I had in going back to school was supporting myself financially,” Kaylen says. A member of the 2017 graduating class of Colorado Mesa University, Kaylen met financial challenges by competing for scholarships, including the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship through Doyon Foundation.

“Doyon Foundation helped me to graduate,” she says. Foundation support helped with tuition as well as day-to-day expenses like rent. Because of the Foundation, she says, “I’m one step closer to becoming debt free.”

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Kaylen who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic, starting tomorrow, is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

“I devoted my time to working hard and studying,” says Kaylen, who held a job while going to school. She studied radiologic technology and plans to work toward mammography certification. Her goals include becoming a traveling mammography technologist. She graduated in May.

“College can be overwhelming, especially if you must work outside of school. I spent my free time hiking and sewing. It’s important to stay focused and work hard, but remember to have fun!”

 

Jessica’s parents are the late Catherine Maki and the late Gordon Ruck; her grandparents are Nancy (Senungetuk) Felton, of Wales and Nome, and the late Willard Felton. Jessica’s hometown is Anchorage.

Jessica“Without Doyon Foundation’s support, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Jessica, a doctoral student in social welfare at the University of Washington. Doyon Foundation scholarships, including the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship, helped her pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my educational successes,” she says. In addition to completing research, writing and exams that will precede her dissertation, Jessica reviews journal articles in her field and advocates for social welfare policy. She volunteers in her children’s school, offers guest lectures at UW and the University of Alaska Anchorage, and plans to resume a role with the Alaska Native Dialogues on Racial Equity. She also serves as a co-president of the Native Organization of Indigenous Scholars.

“The stress of multiple demands can become overwhelming,” she acknowledges. “I’ve had to learn to limit what I take on.” Her advice to other students: Remember that persevering to Graduation Day takes more than going to class and cranking out papers.

“Do what brings you internal happiness and satisfaction, help others, always tend to your relationships. Stay connected to who you are and where you come from. Forgive. And always do the best you can.”

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Jessica who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic held in June is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

 

Jarynn’s parents are Lucille Stickman and the late John Cunningham II. Her maternal grandparents are the late Jessie Stickman and the late Donald Stickman; her paternal grandparents are Betty Cunningham and the late John Cunningham. Jarynn’s hometown is Palmer.

JarynnJarynn is a May 2017 graduate of Minnesota-based Century College, where she earned an associate’s degree in computer science. Her plans include enrolling in the fall in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

She says that being awarded a Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship through Doyon Foundation demonstrated that the Foundation is as supportive as family when it comes to seeing college students succeed: “The Foundation gave me the opportunity to fully invest my time into my education. I am very thankful.”

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Jarynn who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic held in June is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

Jarynn’s long-term plans include completing her bachelor’s degree in two years and then working in software development. She advises others to maintain perspective when it comes to potential setbacks on the way to earning a college degree.

“Our education journeys may seem daunting at first. But all our efforts will pay off in the long run. We’ll become a better version of ourselves,” she says.

Among her biggest challenges: Recognizing when it’s time to ask for emotional or academic support.

“I’ve learned that struggling is nothing to be ashamed of,” Jarynn says. “It’s OK to reach out for help. Balancing your priorities – school, work, family, health – is the key to being successful.”

teaSee below for our June Native word of the month in Gwich’in!

Lidii = Tea
Ko’ kat lidii tr’ahtsii łyaa akaii. = The tea we make on the fire sure tastes good.

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

 

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

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

 

Doyon Foundation is pleased to announce the 2017 Our Language grant awardees. After careful consideration, the selection committee chose eight proposals from among an impressive round of 19 applicant organizations. The awarded projects include community language classes, language app development, language learning through song and dance, curriculum development and summer camp activities.

“The 2017 Our Language grant awardees are an outstanding group dedicated to ensuring the ancestral languages of the Doyon region continue on for future generations,” says Allan Hayton, director of the Foundation’s language revitalization program.

2017 Our Language Awardees

Chalkyitsik: A project to revitalize the Draanjik Gwich’in language. The Chalkyitsik tribe seeks to add to and enhance language teaching in the school by creating language learning opportunities in the community. The project will compile lessons into book form for current and future learners.

Circle: This curriculum development and language teaching project, “Diiginjik Tr’oonta’, Holding On To Our Language,” will be a collaboration of the Circle Tribal Council, Danzhit Hanlaii Corporation, the community and Circle School. Instructor Mary Groat, assisted by Margaret Henry-John and Audrey Fields, will seek to “encourage youth to embrace, love, learn and take pride in their beautiful traditional language.” The project will offer classes throughout the summer in different locations around the community.

Grayling: This project will utilize traditional songs and dance to practice and learn the Holikachuk language. Language teachers will also teach in the classroom. The project will have two gatherings to bring Elders together and share the dances the community has learned.

Nenana: The Summer Youth Fish Camp is an annual program to connect young people with Athabascan culture and language. The Lower Tanana language is the most endangered of all the Doyon region languages, and this program is essential to instilling in younger generations the knowledge and traditions of the ancestors. This program is part of a larger community plan to address the challenges of language and culture loss.

Northway: A proposal to build a language app for the Née’aaneegn language of Northway to both preserve and teach the language. This project will be using technology developed by Native Innovation, a company based in Arizona. The app allows users to search for words in Née’aaneegn and provides the English translation, or vice-versa. It is an open source technology that will allow continued entries for no additional cost.

Nulato A project partnership with summer youth employee program to interview Elders on stories and traditional beliefs & culture. The interviews will be transcribed and available for use in to the community and for future language projects. The project will also encourage greater interaction between Elders and youth through weekly cultural outings (fishing, berry picking, tea gathering), singing and dancing, language classes, and monthly presentations by youth of what they have learned.

Ruby: This project will consolidate past language efforts and develop materials to be used by young learners. The project will begin by identifying and learning 30 essential words and phrases. They will then hold a weekly meeting to go over what they have learned, and then identify an additional 30 new words and phrases. These words and phrases will be recorded, and developed into flash cards and other materials for learners.

Tanana: This project will create video recordings of Elders speaking conversational Denaakk’e, as well as documenting traditional food gathering, medicinal plant use, and cultural activities. These videos will be used to develop pilot lesson plans for use in classrooms. The project aims to generate enthusiasm and impetus for continued language use in the school and community.

“All of these projects together embody the great hope we have for our languages, and how the languages can contribute to the success and wellbeing of our communities,” Allan shares. “It was a difficult task for the selection committee to narrow down their selections to this group of eight awardees. We thank everyone for applying, and we hope communities will submit their proposals to multiple funding organizations.”

Specifically, Doyon Foundation recognizes Arctic Village, Anvik, Dena’ Cultural Heritage Education Institute, Eagle, Hughes, Koyukuk, McGrath, Nikolai, Telida, and Tetlin, for their commitment to language revitalization.

About the Our Language Awards
The 10 ancestral languages of the Doyon region are all severely to critically endangered, and the Our Language grant program was developed to support the revitalization of these languages. Doyon, Limited originally established the language grant program in 2012. The Foundation’s language revitalization program now administers the grant program.

About the Language Revitalization Program

Due to the rapidly decreasing health of creative and fluent Native language speakers, the Native languages within the Doyon region are not being passed on quickly enough to ensure their survival. There is an urgent need to promote and foster language opportunities for non-speakers.

In 2009, Doyon Foundation created the language revitalization committee to respond to this need, and began creating a region-wide language revitalization program that would address one of the Foundation’s vision elements for a “Strong Demonstration of Native Traditional Language and Culture.”

In 2012, the Doyon, Limited board of directors, along with full support from Doyon President Aaron Schutt, agreed with the language revitalization committee and awarded start-up funding to establish the language revitalization program.

For more information about the grants or the program, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com, or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

Emily’s mother is Janice Joseph of Rampart; her grandmother is Jenny Joseph of Rampart and her grandfather is Arthur Joseph of Tanana. Emily’s father is Mark Sexton; her grandmother is Beverly Sexton and her grandfather is Bill Sexton, all from Fairbanks. Emily’s hometown is Fairbanks.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset“The biggest challenge I faced during my education has been distance from home,” says Emily, a Marquette University student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “Getting over homesickness has been essential.”

Emily has had a Doyon Foundation scholarship in each semester. “Especially for a student attending college so far from Alaska, these generous scholarships truly help decrease the high cost of education,” says Emily, a current Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship recipient.

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Emily who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic held in June is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

Emily’s goals include graduating in 2018 with degrees in accounting and political science before going on to become a certified public accountant and attending law school. She’s interning this summer at a Milwaukee investment company.

During the school year, Emily is involved in the Native American Student Association. She also volunteers as a reading tutor with the First Nations Studies Program in Milwaukee public schools. “It’s been rewarding,” she says. “Most of these students are first-generation college students like me, so I brought them on a tour of my campus. It was the first time many of them had been on a college campus or talked about attending.”

Her advice to students: Apply for scholarships, get involved early in student groups and make time to volunteer. “It’s been an incredible experience to serve as a mentor,” she says.

 

The Dream Warriors Scholarship was created by a handful of young Native Artists to pass on passion by encouraging youth from our communities and all across Indian Country to pursue their artistic dreams. As working and living artists, Kelly Holmes, Mic Jordan, John and Kenn Little, Tall Paul, Frank Waln, and Tanaya Winder all believe each person has a unique gift to offer the world. These gifts can heal and bring about change. As a collective, they believe we can all help to uplift each other. In doing what they love, the artists hope to show that a career in the arts can be realistic and achievable. The Dream Warriors Scholarship encourages high school Native American / Alaska Native / Native Hawaiian seniors to pursue their creative curiosities and passions by providing a scholarship geared towards these endeavors.

For more information click HERE.