October 2019


126_DLO Language Champion Promotion_FB-INI’m so proud of Doyon Foundation for its work with our languages”

Paul Mountain is the son of Josephine Rita (Nickoli) and Simeon Charley Mountain Senior. Paul’s maternal grandparents are Maria Catherine (K’elestemets) and Paul (Naakk’oos) Nickoli. His paternal grandparents are Vivian (Sipary) Peter and Cosmas Mountain. Cosmas’ parents are Charley and Mary Mountain.

Paul’s Alaska Native language is Denaakkenaage’, spoken by Koyukon Athabascan people of Nulato and Kaltag. He graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1991, and holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics with a minor in Alaska Native languages. He is a past recipient of Doyon Foundation scholarships.

“I have always been intrigued by the use of language to communicate,” says Paul, who is tribal administrator for the Nulato Tribal Council.

Paul’s earliest memories include time spent with his grandmother, Maria Nikoli, who spoke only Koyukon Athabascan and helped him gain a good foundation for understanding the language. His mother, uncles and aunts were instrumental in teaching the language.

“The Koyukon language is so interesting,” Paul says. “There are so many different ways to express yourself without saying too much.” For instance, when someone says “emaa,” the word may translate as “ouch” or “it hurts.” The same word may be used today as an idiom, meaning “I feel bum.” For health care providers who may not be unfamiliar with Koyukon, its flexibility can be frustrating, Paul says.

As in other languages, some Koyukon words fall out of use. “Songs were made in the past using words even the fluent speakers sometimes don’t understand fully. There’s a certain amount of poetic license on the part of the songmaker,” Paul says.

Connecting words to form sentences was an important step in advancing his fluency. “I think a lot of people know lots of words and what they mean, but what they lack is how to form complete sentences. Repetition was a really good way to learn,” he says.

To remain active in language learning, Paul takes part in a Native singing and dance group based in Nulato. The dance group is sponsored by Nulato Tribal Council in partnership with Andrew K. Demoski School. In his role as tribal administrator, Paul is supportive of a Nulato Tribal Council project to re-translate workbooks into the Lower Koyukon dialect. But as Native language speakers are being lost to old age, he knows that among the biggest challenges to language learning is a lack of people available to speak with and learn from.

“It’s really difficult,” he says. “I’m so proud of Doyon Foundation for its work with our languages.”

Paul plans to continue working with the Native dance group, which includes members as young as 8 years old, to develop their understanding of the meaning behind songs. “It’s so entertaining to help them,” he says. “I’d also like to help as they grow older and learn to make songs themselves.”

About Doyon Languages Online

Through the Doyon Language Online project, Doyon Foundation is developing introductory online lessons for 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 project officially launched in summer 2019 with the first four courses, now available for free to all interested learners.

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.

About Language Champions

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 haytona@doyon.com. 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.

 

Senator Dan Sullivan is looking for exceptional students and recent graduates to join his team in Washington, D.C. Many of today’s best and brightest political minds began their careers in public service as interns in public relations, news organizations, and on congressional staffs, both in Alaska and the nation’s capital.

Successful candidates will receive a stipend during their internship. To learn more about this exciting opportunity to work in Senator Sullivan’s Washington, D.C. office visit http://www.sullivan.senate.gov/services/internships or call the office at 907.271.5915. To apply, please email a current resume, cover letter, and at least one letter of recommendation to the Internship Coordinator at intern_info@sullivan.senate.gov.

Internship_Flyer_08282018.pdf

Senator Dan Sullivan’s Internship Description.pdf

Senator Sullivan’s Internship Program.pdf

PITAAS (Preparing Indigenous Teachers & Administrators for Alaska Schools)

This program is open statewide to ALL Alaska Native students living in Alaska.

If students are Freshmen and Sophomore level and enrolled at UAS:

  • They are not yet able to apply for the program, but are still eligible for full tuition scholarships for classes related to Alaska Native language, history and culture (up to 8 credits total in both years).
  • They do not need to have declared a major in the education field yet.

If they are Junior level or higher and have declared a major in the education field through UAS:

  • They can apply to formally enter the PITAAS program
  • All tuition, fees and books are fully covered by the PITAAS scholarship once enrolled in the program

Attached are applications for both opportunities which include additional information/requirements.

PITAAS app FY19-20.pdf

Tuition Scholarship Application.pdf

www.uas.alaska.edu/education/start.html

Nearly 60 Doyon Foundation students, alumni and supporters gathered to celebrate the Foundation’s fall 2019 scholarship recipients at the annual scholarship award ceremony, which took place August 30 in Fairbanks. Doris Miller, Foundation executive director, and LaVerne Demientieff, Foundation board member and chair of the language revitalization committee, welcomed all in attendance.830192.jpg

At the event, the Foundation announced its 2019 full-time and part-time basic scholarship recipients, as well as the 2019 – 2020 competitive scholarship recipients. This fall, the Foundation awarded 277 scholarships, including 83 part-time basic scholarships, 148 full-time basic scholarships, and 46 competitive scholarships, for a grand total of $378,000.

Guests, including VIPs University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen and members of Doyon, Limited’s board of directors and senior management, heard from alumna speaker, Sonja Sommer, and student speaker, Rebekah Hartman.

Sommer received an associate degree in applied accounting, an occupational endorsement certificate in bookkeeping, and a bachelor’s of business administration in general business, all from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Hartman, a junior at UAF pursuing a bachelor’s degree in animation, was selected this fall for the $5,000 Morris Thompson Committee Choice competitive scholarship. The event was particularly special for Hartman, whose parents surprised her by driving from Wasilla to Fairbanks to show their support at the ceremony.

p1000800.jpgThe 23 students in attendance also had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the audience.

Miller offered a special thank you to donors, including Doyon, Limited, whose generosity makes these scholarships possible.

The next scholarship application deadline is Friday, November 15, 2019, for basic scholarships for the spring 2020 semester. Doyon shareholders and descendants are eligible to apply for Foundation scholarships, which include advanced college credit awards for high school students, short-term vocational scholarships, basic scholarships for part-time and full-time students, and competitive scholarships.

For more information, visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

 

78_Student Dinner Promotion_FB-INWhat are you doing on Wednesday, November 6? If you are in Fairbanks, we hope you’ll join us at our fall student dinner! Time and location are TBA, but you know there will be delicious food, fun activities and great company. Plus, student Noah Lovell will be there to share about his internship experience! Watch for more details and we hope to see you there!

Noah Lovell

Student Noah Lovell, featured speaker at our 2019 fall student dinner

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We are excited to share this short comic, written in Gwich’in and illustrated by our summer intern, Claire Ketzler! This book follows a Gwich’in story, Shihtthoo Tr’ik, The Young Brown Bear Woman.

page 2

Translation:
Box 1: There was once a young brown bear woman.
Box 2: She was very, very beautiful.
Box 3: Her father loved her.
Box 4: He did not allow her out alone.

page 3

Translation:
Box 1: Despite this, she left one day for water.
Box 2: When she reached water, she met raven.
Box 3: Raven was always playing tricks.
Box 4: Here! Drink this water I am holding!

page 4

Translation:
Box 1: She decided to drink the water.
Box 2: She drank something black and small in the water.
Box 3: That night she went back home, she fell ill.

page 5

Translation:
Box 1: She was pregnant, about to give birth.
Box 2: She gave birth. It was a beautiful baby boy.

page 6

Translation:
Box 1: The little boy grew up fast.
Box 2: The boy liked the moon that hung up on the wall.
Box 3: It lit up the house but kept the world in darkness.

page 7

Translation:
Box 1: The son took the moon from its place.
Box 2: His grandfather said,
Box 3: “Don’t take the moon away from the house.”
Box 4: “Stay close by.”

page 8

Translation:
Box 1: The boy didn’t mind his grandfather.
Box 2: He took the moon outside to play with it.
Box 3: Raven was sitting high in a tree watching.

page 9

Translation:
Box 1: Raven swooped in.
Box 2: And took the moon.
Box 3: He threw it high into the sky.

page 10

Translation:
Box 1: The moon is there to this day.

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View a video of the full story on our YouTube channel!

Want to learn Gwich’in, or other languages of the Doyon region? Sign up for the Doyon Languages Online course – free and available to all interested language learners!

Winter cabin by Jacob Yule

Photo courtesy of Jacob Yule

We are pleased to share our October 2019 Native words of the month in Denaakk’e. This month, we feature a short conversation between two sisters: Beverly Kokrine and Susan Paskvan.

Beverly: Sodaa, do’eent’aa? (My older sister, how are you?)

Susan: Sedaats, eszoonh. (My younger sister, I’m fine.)

Beverly: Hedoneehoyh. (Come inside.)

Susan: Baasee’ sedaadzaa. (Thank you my younger sister.)

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!