June 2019


111_DLO_Course Promotion_Benhti Kenaga'_FB-INCourse now available for free to all interested learners

Doyon Foundation officially launched its Doyon Languages Online project today with the release of a language-learning course for Benhti Kenaga’, one of the 10 endangered languages of the Doyon region. The online course is now available at no charge to all interested language learners through the Doyon Foundation website.

 

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Benhti Kenaga’ is one of the string of Athabascan languages and dialects spoken on the Tanana River in Alaska. Benhti, Toghotili, Ch’eno’ and Salchaket are all members of this group, but only Benhti Kenaga’ is spoken now. Benhti means “Among the lakes” and Kenaga’ refers to “the language.”

“Today, language use is strongest within our songs, either alone or in a group. Singing gives us the ability to express a connection to the past. Growing up hearing Elders sing these songs of yesterday prepared us for today, and gives strength to move forward. This also is a part of who we are, something that makes us unique,” shared the Benhti Kenaga’ content creation team.

The course was developed by a team of content creators, Elders and a linguistics consultant, with the support of Foundation staff. The team drafted the initial course over a two-week time period last year. Over the past year, with linguistic consultation and coaching from speakers, the team finalized and recorded the course, and developed supporting content including videos, slides and interactives.

“The Benhti Kenaga’ content creation team is an inspiration,” said Doris Miller, Doyon Foundation’s executive director. “Witnessing them coming together to speak their language, share their stories and develop lessons that would allow them to pass their language on to future generations was an incredible experience. Doyon Foundation is so pleased to have played a role in facilitating this language revitalization.”

The finished course includes 10 units, each with five lessons of content, reviews and unit assessments, as well as 15 conversational videos with subtitles in English and Benhti Kenaga’, and 13 culture and grammar notes. The Benhti Kenaga’ Pocket Dictionary, published in 2009 and available through the Alaska Native Language Center, is a recommended supplemental resource for anyone taking the course.

The Foundation extends a special thank you to Elders Sarah Silas, Vernell Titus, Anna Frank and Andy Jimmie; the Benhti Kenaga’ content creators/contributors David Engles, Vera Weiser and Bertina Titus; linguistic consultant Siri Tuttle; the Village of Minto; the City of Nenana; Doyon, Limited; Doyon Facilities; Julian Thibedeau; and all of the authors and contributors who created materials for the Benhti Kenaga’ language from 1970 to today, making the creation of this course possible.

The Benhti Kenaga’ course is the first in a series of courses to be launched through the Doyon Languages Online project, which is creating introductory online lessons for nine of the 10 endangered Doyon region languages: 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 Foundation plans to release three additional courses over the next month.

Last month, Doyon Foundation gave a preview of Doyon Languages Online with the release of a special set of Hän language lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby, an Alaska Native leader, respected Elder and language revitalization pioneer.

Doyon Languages Online is a partnership between Doyon Foundation and 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning through software donated by Transparent Language. It 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.

The Doyon Languages Online launch coincides with the International Year of Indigenous Languages, which Doyon Foundation is a partner organization of.  In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. At the time, it was estimated that 40 percent of the 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing.

For more information on the Benhti Kenaga’ course and the Doyon Languages Online project, please visit the Foundation website or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com. For assistance signing up for or using Doyon Languages Online, view the instructional video series on YouTube.

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First course to be released tomorrow; three additional to follow

Tomorrow, Friday, June 21, after three years of dedicated efforts, Doyon Foundation will officially launch its Doyon Languages Online project with the release of the first online language-learning course featuring Benhti Kenaga’, one of the 10 endangered languages of the Doyon region. Over the next two weeks, the Foundation will release three additional courses: Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Denaakk’e (Koyukon) and Holikachuk. All courses will be available at no charge to all interested language learners through the Doyon Foundation website.

Earlier this spring, the Foundation gave a preview of Doyon Languages Online with the release of a special set of Hän language lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby, an Alaska Native leader, respected Elder and language revitalization pioneer. Those lessons are currently available through the Doyon Foundation website.

The declining number of speakers, and the desire to preserve and pass along the Native languages of the Doyon region to future generations is the driving force behind Doyon Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online project, which began in 2016.

With the support of teams of content creators, Elders and linguistics consultants, the project is creating introductory online lessons for nine of the 10 endangered Doyon region languages: 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 content creation teams have been an inspiration,” said Doris Miller, Doyon Foundation’s executive director. “Witnessing them coming together to speak their language, share their stories and develop lessons that would allow them to pass their language on to future generations was an incredible experience. Doyon Foundation is so pleased to have played a role in facilitating this language revitalization.”

The Doyon Languages Online launch coincides with the International Year of Indigenous Languages, which Doyon Foundation is a partner organization of.  In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. At the time, it was estimated that 40 percent of the 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing.

“After years of dedicated efforts, we are so pleased to share this language revitalization work with all interested learners,” Miller said. “It is even more special to launch Doyon Languages Online in conjunction with the International Year of Indigenous Languages.”

Doyon Languages Online is a partnership between Doyon Foundation and 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning through software donated by Transparent Language. It 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. Doyon Foundation is the private foundation of Alaska Native regional corporation, Doyon, Limited.

For more information on the Doyon Languages Online project and upcoming course releases, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com. For assistance signing up for or using Doyon Languages Online, view the instructional video series on YouTube.

Applications Due September 13, 2019
Apply Now for the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship

LONGMONT, Colorado (June 17, 2019) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) and The Henry Luce Foundation (Luce) have partnered to launch the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship. The fellowship is a 12-month, self-directed enrichment program designed to support the growth, development, knowledge and networks of Indigenous knowledge holders and knowledge makers.

First Nations is now accepting applications for the inaugural year of the program. In 2020, First Nations will award 10 fellowships of $50,000 each to outstanding Native Americans engaged in meaningful work that benefits Indigenous people and communities in either reservation and/or urban settings.

This fellowship is intended to support Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers as they advance their work and significantly move forward their field in ways that will ultimately lead to broad, transformative impacts for Indigenous communities.  It is open to both emerging and experienced leaders from a wide variety of fields, including but not limited to agriculture, food systems, youth leadership development, natural resource management, climate change, economic development, journalism, language and cultural revitalization, traditional and contemporary arts and more.

Complete information and a link to the online application can be found at this link.  All applications must be completed and submitted by 5 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Friday, September 13, 2019.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a member of a federal- or state-recognized Native American or Alaska Native tribe or community; or demonstrate significant and long-standing engagement with and commitment to an Indigenous community in the U.S.
  • Be engaged in the development or perpetuation of knowledge in their field.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be U.S. citizens.

Applicants may self-apply or nominate another individual. First Nations recognizes that some individuals may not apply for this fellowship on their own. First Nations understands that some individuals might be uncomfortable identifying themselves as knowledge keepers, cultural producers, intellectual leaders, etc. within their own communities. We ask for assistance identifying those individuals, and encourage their family, friends, colleagues, co-workers and others to work with potential candidates to submit an application on their behalf.

Applicants will be asked to complete an online application and provide other required information, including three short essays, two reference letters, and a current resume/curriculum vitae. Please see the online application for more details.

The Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship is designed to honor and support these individual leaders as they work to further Indigenous knowledge creation, dissemination and change in Indigenous communities. This fellowship will give Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers the funding and connections necessary to maximize their potential and realize their vision for their communities. It will provide these cultural producers with the resources to match their existing knowledge, passion and drive to achieve their personal and community goals.

About First Nations Development Institute

For nearly 39 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities.  First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.

About the Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. The foundation advances its mission through grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art and public policy.

Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., the foundation’s earliest work honored his parents, missionary educators in China. The foundation’s programs today reflect the value Mr. Luce placed on learning, leadership, and long-term commitment in philanthropy.

The Henry Luce Foundation, a private independent foundation, is a nonprofit corporation operating under the laws of the State of New York.

DF_41_OpenPosition Promotion_blog

Seeking qualified applicants for full-time, Fairbanks-based position

Doyon Foundation is seeking applicants for our full-time administrative assistant position, based at the Foundation 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 review the job description and apply today!

We are seeking a project manager to support and help keep our entire staff accountable and on task. The successful applicant will be highly organized with consistent follow-through, proactive, creative, positive, well-grounded and trustworthy. A person who enjoys routine and loves to work as a member of a team will thrive in this position.

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 programs, 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 or someone you know are interested in this position, please visit the Doyon, Limited employment webpage to learn more. To apply, create a Talent Bank profile on the Doyon website and then complete the online application. Applications will be accepted through June 18, 2019. 

We are pleased to present our June 2019 Native word of the month. Thank you to our speaker, Irene Roberts from Circle.

Gwich’in

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Dwarf fireweed on the Top of the World Highway in 2012. Photo courtesy of Allan Hayton.

Khatinjinighyit = Worry

Listen to an audio recording:

Khatinjinighyit kwaa, shoo iinlįį. = Don’t worry, be happy.

Listen to an audio recording:

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