September 2019

Doyon is seeking Alaska Native students, grades 9 – 12 for or a Robotics Challenge and the deadline is TOMORROW. Twenty students will be accepted into the free program to learn what it’s like to work as an engineer (we’ve received three applications to date).

Doyon Shareholders (only) outside of Fairbanks/North Pole area will be provided travel assistance through Doyon.

Contact Jordanna David, Shareholder Outreach Assistant for any questions you may have (907-459-2127).

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Born and raised in Nikolai, the upper Kuskokwim Athabascan community on the south fork of the Kuskokwim River, Daniel Esai is a language learner, teacher and speaker of Dinak’i. His parents are Dora Esai and the late Phillip Esai, both of Nikolai. His family includes sisters Martha Runkle and Jacqueline Esai, both of Nikolai, and several nieces and nephews.

Daniel’s paternal grandparents are Gleman Esai of the Nikolai area and Martha Alexie of the area surrounding Stony River, Sleetmute and Lime Village. Daniel’s maternal grandparents are Golgomy and Alexandria Dennis, both of the Nikolai area.

Daniel, 56, pursued vocational education and went on to work as a roughneck and roustabout for Doyon Drilling. His goals include rejoining Doyon Drilling and taking part soon in the Doyon Leadership Training program for shareholders seeking to develop leadership skills. He’s eager for computer training for work readiness and self-sufficiency. Daniel enjoys hunting and fishing to support his family, while caring for his elderly mother.

“I learned to speak my language from parents and my Grandma Alexandria,” Daniel recalls.

Growing-up years found him gravitating to the Elders, listening to them speak their language and absorbing their wisdom. “I miss the days when I used to listen to my Aunt Katherine Deaphon, when we used to laugh and speak our language a lot,” Daniel says. “I learned a lot from everyone.”

As he writes on his Facebook page, Daniel believes in family, sharing what we’re given and being kind — values he traces to following in the ways of Elders. “I was always hanging around the old people – I don’t know why that is, but I believe it taught me to be nice to others and that has kept me alive.”

He tells the story of an old blind man who lived among the people of Nikolai and was tormented by children who poked the man with sticks before running away. “I would fight with the ones who picked on the blind man,” Daniel says, adding that kindness and helping the vulnerable have kept him alive.

“My language means the whole thing to me,” he says. “It will point me in which direction to go when I die.” He recalls instructions handed down through the generations: “When I pass away, I’ll be asked what my clan is and I will answer in Dinak’i, Dichinanek Hwtana clan.”

Daniel serves on Doyon Foundation’s advisory committee for the Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim) language, as part of the Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online project. Doyon Language Online is developing introductory online lessons for the Alaska Native languages of the Doyon region, including Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Deg Xinag, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Hän, Holikachuk, and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana). The Foundation launched the first four online language-learning courses in summer 2019, and courses are now available for free to all interested learners through the Doyon Foundation website.

Doyon Languages Online 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 project is a partnership with 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning through software donated by Transparent Language.

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we believe it is important to recognize people who are committed 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 Language champions may also complete our profile questionnaire here. You may learn more about our language revitalization program on our website, or sign up to access the free Doyon Languages Online courses here.

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Doyon Foundation is currently seeking candidates for three open seats on its board of directors. The seats are for three-year terms, expiring in 2022. The deadline to apply is Monday, October 28, at 5 p.m.


Candidates seeking election to the Doyon Foundation board must be:

  • A Doyon, Limited shareholder
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Knowledgeable about private foundation management and higher education
  • Familiar with the Foundation’s vision, goals, mission and purpose
  • Committed to carrying out the duties of a board member, which include:
    • Attending quarterly board meetings
    • Serving on two board committees
    • Completing work outside of meetings
    • Representing the Foundation at various events
    • Speaking on behalf of the Foundation at events, if asked
    • Note that some board work is conducted remotely, and computer and online access is strongly encouraged

Doyon Foundation is specifically interested in candidates with nonprofit board and fundraising experience. Additionally, candidates residing in a rural community within the Doyon region are especially encouraged to apply.

Important Notice

Please note that, under federal laws governing private foundations, family members of Doyon Foundation board members are NOT eligible to receive a Doyon Foundation basic or competitive scholarship during their term on the board. Family members are defined as the board members’ spouse, ancestors, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the spouses of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Current Doyon Foundation scholarship recipients are also not eligible to serve on the board.

Responsibilities/Job Description

The duties of a Doyon Foundation board member include:

  • Contribute skills that help the Foundation make progress on planning.
  • Consistently work toward and produce results related to the Foundation’s strategic focus areas, which include providing consistent measurable results, diversifying and growing revenue streams, increasing shareholder educational opportunities, enhancing operations, and revitalizing languages and traditional Native values.
  • Define and oversee the mission of the Foundation and keep it relevant to the needs of Doyon shareholders and their descendants.
  • Approve programs/services and monitor their effectiveness.
  • Provide strategic guidance to the Foundation and its executive director.
  • Ensure financial solvency and help raise resources.
  • Select, support and evaluate the executive director.
  • Ensure continuous board improvement.
  • Attend quarterly meetings in Fairbanks, Alaska, as well as any special meetings called.
  • Serve on two board committees and possibly chair one committee, which include finance/investment, development/fundraising, language revitalization/culture, and governance.
  • Participate in at least one board training event each year.
  • Demonstrate willingness to take on other duties and assignments, as needed.
  • Represent and, if asked, speak on behalf of Doyon Foundation at various events.

Application Instructions/Deadline

Applications are accepted using an online form. The form does not take long to fill out and candidates are able to upload resumes and/or other materials.

Candidates may also download and print a hard-copy form to complete and mail to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Avenue, Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99701. Mailing instructions are provided on the form.

Please note that candidates are required to submit an updated resume along with their completed application.

It is highly recommended that candidates familiarize themselves with the Foundation and its work by reviewing the Foundation’s website, blog and social media channels prior to submitting an application. All of these links are available at

The deadline to apply is Monday, October 28, 2019, at 5 p.m.

For more information, please visit or contact Doris Miller, Doyon Foundation executive director, at 907.459.2048 or


DF_41_OpenPosition Promotion_FBIt’s an exciting time here at Doyon Foundation, with our vibrant scholarship program supporting hundreds of students in their academic journey, and our language revitalization program, which has picked up incredible momentum, launching our first four Doyon Languages Online courses this summer!

There are currently two exciting ways to join the Foundation team: as our new data entry clerk or Doyon Languages Online project manager. We are currently recruiting for both of these open positions, and invite all interested applicants to review the job descriptions and apply online.

Our Doyon Languages Online project manager position is perfect for someone who is passionate about the revitalization of Native languages. This person will be responsible for the coordination and completion of the Doyon Languages Online project, which we launched earlier this summer with the roll-out of the first four online language-learning courses in HolikachukGwich’inDenaakk’e and Benhti Kenaga’.  This is a full-time position with funding secured through September 30, 2020, although future grant opportunities may be secured to extend the position. Applications will be accepted online until the position is filled.

We are also seeking a data entry clerk, who will be responsible for entering student scholarship information into our database, and assisting our scholarship program manager with scholarship program duties. Applicants should be high school graduates or equivalent. This is a full-time position in our Fairbanks office.

Interested applicants are encouraged to review the job descriptions and requirements, and apply online at Know someone who may be qualified and interested? Help us spread the word!

Fall internship opportunity – Intern will gain exposure to the overall operations of Alaska Permanent Capital Management and work with the firm’s staff on projects relating to marketing, deliverables to the client, and investment management projects.

We are pleased to present our September 2019 Native words of the month in Holikachuk. Thank you to our speakers, Elizabeth Keating and Mary Deacon.

Windy = xidets’iyh

Xidets’iyh he’? = Is it windy?


Yoonedz xidets’iyh. = There’s a North wind coming down.


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

We also invite you to access free online language-learning lessons by signing up for Doyon Languages Online! We currently have lessons available for HolikachukDenaakk’eBenhti Kenaga’ and Gwich’in, as well as a special set of Hän lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby. All interested learners may sign up and access the courses at no charge – sign up today!