December 2019

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We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. We here at Doyon Foundation are enjoying the last days of 2019, and looking toward the new year (and new decade!) with excitement.

We are especially excited for 2020, as we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary throughout the coming year. If you would like to support the Foundation’s work in the area of education and culture, we invite you to make an end-of-year gift.

Your gift to Doyon Foundation is tax deductible and will go to support students through our scholarship program, and language revitalization through efforts like our Doyon Languages Online project.

There are three easy ways to give:

1) On Facebook at

2) Mail a check to Doyon Foundation at 615 Bidwell Avenue, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK 99701.

3) Donate online on our website,

However you give, we thank you for your support. Happy New Year!

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From all of us at Doyon Foundation, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Foundation office will be closed December 24 and 25, and January 1 so our staff can celebrate with their friends and families.

Happy holidays!

Strong roots connect us to our well-being”

Jennifer with Great Aunt Elizabeth Fleagle

Jennifer with her great-aunt, Dr. Elizabeth Fleagle

Originally from the Interior community of Allakaket on the Koyukuk River, Jennifer Adams is the daughter of the late Bob Maguire of Chelan, Washington, and the late Cora (Moses) Maguire of Allakaket. Jennifer’s maternal grandparents are Johnson Bergman Moses of Allakaket and the late Bertha (Nictune) Moses of Alatna. Other family include Jennifer’s great-aunt, Dr. Elizabeth Fleagle, a sister of Bertha Moses.

Jennifer is director of the Juneau-based Small Business Development Center, a unit within the Alaska Small Business Development Center, University of Alaska Anchorage. A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient, Jennifer graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a bachelor’s degree in 2004 and a master’s of business administration in 2013. Her languages are Denaakk’e, spoken by Koyukon Alaska Native people, and Inupiaq, spoken by Inupiaq Alaska Native people.

Jennifer was a child when her father began introducing her to Inupiaq and Koyukon Athabascan. A non-Native teacher who came to Alaska straight out of college to teach at rural schools, Bob eventually arrived at Allakaket and met Cora, Jennifer’s mother.

Bob immersed himself in Koyukon and Athabascan cultures and in the lifestyles of Allakaket and Alatna. From his father-in-law, Johnson Moses, Bob learned Koyukon Athabascan vocabulary; his mother-in-law, Bertha Nictune Moses, taught him Inupiaq words. Jennifer grew up hearing her father readily incorporate both languages in everyday life.

“He’d say, ‘Wipe your nuvuk,’ (‘boogers,’ in Inupiaq) or ‘You have a big chaga,’ (‘stomach,’ in Koyukon Athabascan),” Jennifer says. And while Episcopal missionaries arriving in the early 1900s taught Jennifer’s parents not to speak their languages – and to not pass them on to their children – Jennifer’s mother went on to learn to speak Koyukon Athabascan as adult after studying at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Jennifer was enrolled in a fifth-grade bilingual Inupiaq class at Shugnak while her mother completed student teaching at a local school.

Jennifer believes that reconnecting Indigenous people to their culture and languages promotes a healthy society. And though her home in Juneau is far from people who speak her Native languages, Jennifer retains her connection by taking part in programs, including the He ‘ lelo Ola Hilo Field Study Conference in Hilo, Hawaii, in 2017.

“The conference was vital to learning about language immersion programs,” she says. Knowledge gained there led her to write a $1.6 million grant awarded to the Fairbanks Native Association for a Koyukon Athabascan classroom immersion program for preschoolers.

Her plans include continuing to research and write grants and enrolling in language courses in Inupiaq and Koyukon Athabascan. She also serves on Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization committee and was elected to the Foundation board of directors in November 2019.

“I’d like to thank Doyon Foundation and any other organizations that are instrumental in language learning programs,” she says. She knows from her own childhood that one of the best ways to acquire language is to use it in everyday settings.

“Language connects me to my culture,” Jennifer says. “It’s important to learn and preserve language knowledge so we have strong roots that connect us to our well-being.”

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.

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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Today marks the 30th anniversary of Doyon Foundation! Over the coming year, we will be celebrating our 30 years of providing educational, career and cultural opportunities to enhance the identity and quality of life for Doyon shareholders.

Join us in commemorating this milestone by sharing a story, photo or video about how the Foundation has touched your life on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. Be sure to tag #DF30 so we can see it!


The late Isaac and Sandi Juneby

Today we remember Sandra “Sandi” Leider Juneby, 1936 – 2019. We here at Doyon Foundation send our thoughts and prayers to the family of Sandi Juneby on her recent passing.

Sandi holds a special place in the hearts of all of us at the Foundation, not only for her unflagging commitment to education, but also for granting us her blessing to share her late husband Isaac Juneby’s Hän language lessons.

When the lessons were published in May 2019, we paid her a visit to give her a demonstration of the online lessons. It was incredible to witness her joy when she heard his voice fill the room. Sandi greatly desired that the Hän language continue to be passed on, and she was overjoyed that young learners would be able to access Isaac’s lessons online.

We will always remember her cheerful spirit; she did indeed “glow with the gold of sunshine.”

We are pleased to share our December 2019 Native words of the month in the Deg Xinag language. This month, we present a very special audio clip featuring translations with speakers George Demientieff Holly, Jr. and LaVerne Demientieff, and music by Clayton Ticknor.

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Take a listen, and follow along with these written translations:

Niłdridr = fish fence

Niłdridr vaxa nonhałts’ey. = Fish fence, with it they fence the river.

Yixudz tr’it’itth. = Together we’re strong.

Dina vas axa tr’ezhrenh. = With our food we’re healthy.

Yidong dong xit’sin’ nonxixititlts’et. = Since long, long time ago they’ve made it many times on the river.

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!

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The 2019 report is in, and we give our thanks to the 51 Alaskans who donated to Doyon Foundation through Pick. Click. Give. this year. The $3,475 in donations was up slightly from last year, and we – and our students – are very grateful for your support. See a list of our 2019 donors on our website.

These donations go directly to our general scholarship fund, which provides basic scholarships ranging from $800 for part-time students to $1,200 for full-time students. These scholarships support not only students pursuing traditional four-year degrees, but also certificates, associate degrees and vocational training. We invite you to visit our blog to read profiles featuring students who have benefitted from your generosity!

Mark your calendar – the 2020 Pick. Click. Give. season begins January 1, with the opening of the Alaska PFD application period! It’s simple and easy to make a pledge when completing your PFD application – and it makes a big difference for our students.

Pick. Click. Give. is just one way you can show your support of Doyon Foundation. Other options include:

However you show your support, know that you are helping us work toward our mission to provide educational, career and cultural opportunities to enhance the identity and quality of life for Doyon shareholders. Thank you for your support!