March 2021

Are you a graduate in the Class of 2021? If so, tell us all about it so we can help you celebrate!

We are asking all Doyon Foundation students who graduated or are graduating in the 2020 – 2021 school year to complete a short graduate information request form by Monday, May 3. We’ll feature the information you share in our 2021 electronic graduate yearbook! Check out the 2020 graduate yearbook on our website.

As an additional way to celebrate our graduates, we are creating a special video featuring our 2021 graduates. In your video, you can briefly share about your future plans, thank those who have helped along the way, or give advice or encouragement to others. Check out last year’s video here.

There are two options for submitting your video:

  1. Complete the graduate information request form
  2. Upload it at a later date using our video submission form

Please make sure your video is horizontal, no more than 30 seconds long and that the file is no larger than 50 MB.

Help us celebrate all of your hard work and accomplishments! Please take a few moments now to fill out our graduate questionnaire and upload your graduate video.

From all of us here at Doyon Foundation, conGRADulations and thank you!

Language is what grounds me”

Born in Fairbanks, Tristan Madros is the son of Franklin Madros, Jr. and Cora McGinty Madros. Tristan’s paternal grandparents are Franklin Madros, Sr. and Anna Ruben Madros. Maternal grandparents are Sebastian McGinty, Sr. and Eva Neglaska McGinty. Tristan’s family includes Martina Ekada, an aunt who raised him for most of his childhood. 

Tristan lives in Kaltag, the Yukon River community in Koyukon Athabascan territory, roughly 300 miles west of Fairbanks. He graduated from Andrew K. Demoski School, a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school in Nulato. His Alaska Native language is Denaakk’e (Koyukon).

A content creator with Doyon Languages Online, Tristan Madros knows that singing traditional songs and listening as Elders speak the language — along with persevering — are key to becoming more assured in his Denaakk’e language. 

“The biggest challenge was having to record (for Doyon Languages Online) when I didn’t feel confident enough. I overcame that with encouragement from Elders and other speakers,” he said. 

Today he’s among speakers helping to revitalize Alaska Native languages of the Doyon region by providing content available as free, online lessons through the Doyon Foundation website. “Thank you so much, Doyon Languages Online, for the wonderful work that you do,” he said. 

In addition to contributing to Doyon Languages Online, Tristan encourages language learning by introducing Denaakk’e vocabulary and songs to the next generation, including his nieces and nephews. His teachers have included Elders in Kaltag and Nulato and K’etsoo’ (Susan Paskvan), the Native language coordinator with the Yukon-Kuskokwim School District.

Tristan’s goal is to become fluent. “Language is important to me because it’s ours, our people’s, it’s what grounds me,” he said. “I think I always felt that there was something missing until I started learning our language. Then I felt whole.”

About Doyon Languages Online

Through the Doyon Language Online project, Doyon Foundation is developing introductory online lessons for 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 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.

Our Elders and young ones hold a special place in my heart”

Amber Steinhilpert is the daughter of Ada Chapman of Tanacross and Charles Steinhilpert, Jr. of Anchorage. Amber’s maternal grandparents are the late Louise Luke and Wayne Chapman, and her paternal grandparents are the late Ramona Butler and Charles Steinhilpert, Sr.  

Amber attends Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania, where she has earned Dean’s List honors while pursuing a bachelor of science degree in nursing. She plays NCAA Division III women’s hockey for the Alvernia Golden Wolves and plans to graduate in 2023. Her hometown is Anchorage. 

Doyon Foundation: You’ll soon be in clinical training — an intensive job shadow to put learning into practice — and you’ll start studying for licensing exams that are taken after graduation. What’s life like for you? 

Amber Steinhilpert: I’m preparing for a nursing clinical in spring 2021. There are many requirements that nursing students go through before they may be in clinical training. Then over the next six months, I’ll be studying for exams that determine next steps in my nursing program. After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in nursing, I’ll complete the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses). Preparing for this exam must be done years in advance — it’s critical. 

DF: How does playing hockey fit in?

AS: Hockey helps maintain my physical health. I’m starting my second year as a forward with the NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey for Alvernia. We formed the team last year and have significantly improved. I’m looking forward to being on the ice with my teammates and coaches.

DF: And as you look beyond Graduation Day and licensing?

AS: I’d love to return to Alaska to work with my Indigenous people, to educate others about physical and mental health, especially in places with limited access to medical care. My goal is work in the surgical unit at an Indian Health Service hospital. I want to advocate for patients, anticipate their needs, and communicate with patients and families. 

I’d be humbled to help our Native community receive the medical care they deserve, especially our Elders and young ones, who hold a special place in my heart.

DF: You’re the first in your family to pursue a medical career. How did your Doyon Foundation scholarship help you reach this milestone?

AS: I’m thankful for Doyon Foundation merit-based scholarships. My student account is paid in full so that I may focus on my studies. I’m fulfilling my dreams of becoming a student athlete at Alvernia while studying nursing. 

Having support from my Native community motivates me to be a positive role model, to help educate others to grow our culture and pursue their own dreams for medical careers. 

DF: Most students in challenging programs like yours say that managing time is vital.

AS: Majoring in nursing while also playing a collegiate sport is difficult and time consuming. I decided that education is a top priority, and that focus has allowed me to succeed in required courses.

Time management is the biggest challenge I’ve faced during my education. It’ll continue to be difficult because advanced courses are required to stay in the nursing program. Test-taking skills are another challenge. Questions on the NCLEX-RN can be tricky. You have to understand the material as well as how a question is structured. Practice is needed. 

DF: You’ve got a time-management plan: Keep a daily schedule, start school assignments early and set realistic goals. Other ideas to help students stay on track? 

AS: I believe that as long as you give your full effort and then some, the rest will fall into place. 

Students who are pursuing education at a higher level should be sure they love what they’re doing. Seek opportunities to help others. Participate in campus activities. Push yourself but know your limits.

Leading by example may inspire other students or athletes. Allow for mistakes with the expectation of correcting and improving. And remember to have fun, enjoy your education and help better this world. 

DF: Hockey is more than a game for young athletes like you who want to help others. 

AS: Yes. I’m involved in the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Middle Atlantic Conference SAAC. We meet about twice a month to discuss ways to support healthy lifestyles for student athletes.

I volunteer at the local ice rink, helping children learn to play ice hockey. It’s a program through the Reading (Pennsylvania) Royals, the men’s professional hockey team. It’s heartwarming when younger girls skate up to ask how I got where I am and what advice I have to help them succeed. 

I’m also involved in the Justice, Equity and Inclusion Club at Alvernia. At a time when there are disagreements worldwide over politics, race, and gender identification, among many other issues involving diversity, I believe that education and discussion are important. 

Each month, Doyon Foundation profiles a different student or alumni If you are interested in being highlighted in a student profile, please click here to complete a short questionnaire. To complete the alumnus profile questionnaire, please click here.

The past year has been full of challenges. And yet it was also an amazing display of resiliency. Our students – all 388 of them – pushed on through the changes and the uncertainty, bravely continuing to pursue their educational goals.

Nearly 50 of our students graduated from high school, as well as certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate programs, celebrating their graduations with family and friends via Zoom and drive-by graduation ceremonies. Watch our 2020 graduate reception and our 2020 graduate slideshow.

Our language teams continued their work to develop online language-learning courses to ensure that the languages of the Doyon region not only survive, but thrive, for future generations.

Interested language learners continued to utilize our Doyon Languages Online platform, which now offers free courses in Benhti Kenaga’, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Holikachuk and Hän – and will soon offer lessons in Deg Xinag, Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). Sign up to learn your language for free here.

Organizations across the Doyon region continued to develop ideas and carry out plans for language-revitalization projects, assisted by Our Language grants.

And our donors continued to support our efforts, generously giving despite the challenges and uncertainties of 2020. For this, we say thank you:

Hąį’ęę – Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in)

Ana Basi’ – Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana)

Baasee’/Maasee’ – Denaakk’e (Koyukon)

Tsín’ęę – Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross)

Tsen’įį – Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana)

Tsen’anh – Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim)

Mähsi’ – Hän

Xisigidasidhut – Holikachuk

Dogidinh – Deg Xinag

Quyanaq – Inupiaq

We thank all of our supporters for their steadfast commitment to our mission, to our students, to our languages, to our future. Thank you for helping us continue to move forward, even when the path in front of us was hard to see. And thank you for making a real difference in the lives of our students, like Rosemary, Alexis and Angeli:

Student Angeli Kristovich

“This scholarship changed my life and was the difference to help me achieve a career and financial security.” – Rosemary Messer

“There is an additional aspect to your donation: a verification that reminds me I can do this. School is tough but I remember I am not alone because I have a whole team supporting and encouraging me to do my best.” – Alexis Newby

“Receiving this scholarship makes me feel like my hard work is noticed, and that I have the potential to contribute to a great future for Alaska. – Angeli Kristovich

We invite you to read our “2020 At a Glance,” or view our 2020 highlights video, which provide an overview of Doyon Foundation’s 2020 fiscal year – highlights that our supporters helped make possible.

If you would like to support Doyon Foundation in 2021, we invite you to Pick. Click. Give. to the Foundation when you complete your PFD application or make a secure online donation at Remember, you can also support scholarships while you shop by linking your Fred Meyer rewards card to the Foundation. You can learn more about ways to show your support by visiting our website.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at or 907.459.2048.

Thank you again for your support of the Foundation and the students we serve.

Apply by May 17 for competitive and basic scholarships for fall 2021

If you’re thinking of getting a degree, going back to school, obtaining a higher degree, starting a new career or just learning something new, then we encourage you to apply for a Doyon Foundation scholarship for the fall 2021 semester. The deadline to apply is Monday, May 17 at 11:59 p.m.

May 17 is the application deadline for our fall basic and competitive scholarships. We recently increased the amount of our awards to better serve our students’ needs; the increased award amounts include:

  • Competitive scholarships ranging from $7,000 to $11,000
  • $2,400 basic scholarships for full-time students (undergraduates taking 12 or more credits, or 9 or more credits for graduate students)
  • $1,600 basic scholarships for part-time students (undergraduates taking 3 to 11 credits, or 2 to 8 credits for graduate students)

Wondering about the difference between the scholarships? Competitive scholarships are awarded through a competitive review process, while basic scholarships are awarded to all students who meet the eligibility guidelines and submit a completed application by the appropriate deadline. (Also, our basic scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to get your application in early!) Note that you don’t have to fill out separate applications for competitive and basic awards.

Are you a vocational student? You are eligible for a basic or competitive scholarship if you are enrolled in a program longer than 120 hours or one year! (If you’re in a program shorter than this, check out our short-term vocational scholarship, which is available to apply for year-round.)

Before you apply, make sure you meet the eligibility guidelines. Applicants must:

  • Be accepted to an accredited college, university, technical or vocational school
  • Meet our minimum GPA requirements
  • Be enrolled in the required minimum number of credits

Get all the details on scholarship eligibility and application requirements by reviewing our scholarship resource handbook.  

Ready to apply? Get started at our online scholarship application portal. If you are a first-time applicant, you will need to create a new account. Need help? See our step-by-step account creation instructions or view our detailed application instructions.

Once you are logged in, select “apply” and the system will ask for an access code.If you do not already have an access code, please call 907.459.2048 or email us at to obtain one. 

Remember, scholarship applications are accepted online only. However, we understand that some of our students may have difficulty with a reliable internet connection. If that is the case, please call or email us and we can assist you in completing your scholarship application by proxy.

We always get a lot of questions about transcripts: Do I need to submit them? Do they need to be official or unofficial? What is the deadline? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Official transcripts must be submitted once every academic year, which runs August through July. As these will be the first scholarships awarded in the 2021 – 2022 academic year, all students must submit official transcripts. However, the deadlines to submit transcripts are different for new vs. returning students.
  • If you DID NOT receive a summer 2021 scholarship, you are required to submit your official transcript on or before the deadline of May 17, 2021.
  • If you DID receive a summer 2021 scholarship, your official transcript is due on or before August 27, 2021. This can be uploaded into your student account or emailed to

It is very important to log in to your student account before the scholarship application deadline to check that you have submitted all the required materials. (Put a reminder on your calendar now!)

Questions? We’re here to help! Contact our scholarship program at or 907.459.2048.

Doyon Foundation’s DLO On the Go Contest continues to encourage interested language-learners to learn their language with Doyon Languages Online, which offers free online language-learning courses for all interested learners! And now learners have even more time to learn and earn prize entries, as the deadline has been extended to Friday, September 3!

Here’s how it works:

If you’re a new user, sign up to access Doyon Languages Online and join the contest “class” for the language you want to learn. See the class sign-up links below.

If you already have an account, simply log in and join the contest “class” for the language you are learning.

There are five contest classes – click the link to sign up:

Start learning your language – and remember, the more you learn, the more contest entries you earn! For example:

  • Earn one entry for the first course unit you complete.
  • Earn two entries for the second course unit you complete.
  • Earn three entries for the third course unit you complete.
  • And so on! Note: Most courses include 10 units.

If you’re an existing user, you’ll receive credit for the units you’ve already completed.

Be entered to win prizes! You now have through Friday, September 3 to complete as many course units as you can. We will then tally the entries and hold a random drawing for the winners.

We’ll select three winners from each course class and award prizes including:

  • First prize: iPad Mini (so you can continue your language-learning on the go!)
  • Second prize: iPod Touch (be sure to load Doyon Languages Online so you can learn your language anywhere!)
  • Third prize: $100 Apple gift card
  • All users will receive Doyon Languages Online swag for participating.

Sign up today and start learning!

Did you know in a National Financial Capability Study, 63 percent of Native Americans reported not being able to meet their financial obligations?

Much of this can be attributed to systemic inequalities in our financial systems, and overall lack of access to financial literacy.

To address this, moneygeek has published a brand-new guide that identifies financial disparities and contributes expert-driven solutions to provide education and support to the incredibly diverse Native American population.

Learn more in moneygeek’s guide, “Strengthening Financial Avenues in Native American Communities.”

Photo courtesy of

Baasee’, thank you, to our speaker Eliza Jones for sharing our March 2021 Native Word of the Month in Denaakk’e (Koyukon).

Hʉlookk’ʉt hoolaanh. = It is spring.

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!

Doyon Foundation is pleased to welcome the newest member of our team: Jordan Lee Craddick. Jordan joined us as our new Doyon Languages Online project manager in early 2021.

In this role, Jordan is responsible for the coordination, implementation and evaluation of the Doyon Languages Online II project, which is developing online lessons for Deg Xinag, Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim) and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana). Once completed, these lessons will join the online courses for Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Denaakk’e (Koyukon) and Holikachuk, which are currently available for free to all interested learners on our website,

“I chose to join Doyon Foundation because the work they do is vitally important,” Jordan says. “Fostering the next generation of Athabascan leaders via academic support while also working to preserve our heritage through language revitalization are necessary functions that will ensure the longevity and sovereignty of our people. I am optimistic about the continued growth of the Foundation and I hope to find ways of recording and preserving our proud history in the years to come.”

While new to the Foundation staff, Jordan is very familiar with the Foundation, as he has received several scholarships throughout his educational career. A trained historian who focuses primarily on Alaska Native history, Jordan received his bachelor’s in history from the University of Alaska Anchorage and his master’s in northern studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Currently, he is in the process of writing a dissertation for his Ph.D. from the University of Washington.

“My success in school can be attributed, in no small part, to Doyon Foundation,” Jordan says. “The financial and moral support I received from the Foundation was crucial and I always appreciated how the staff at Doyon Foundation thoughtfully engaged with my educational goals.”

A Doyon, Limited shareholder of Deg Hit’an and Tlingit descent, Jordan was raised throughout Southeast Alaska, but he considers his hometown to be Juneau. His parents are Steve and Vicki Craddick. His paternal grandparents are Randy Kalkins and Caroline Demientieff, while his maternal grandparents are John Kristovich and June Parsons.

As for his interests outside of school and work, Jordan shares, “I’ve been in graduate school for so long that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have hobbies. Given my profession, I read a lot, though to unwind I enjoy watching movies and playing Xbox games. Now that my educational journey is near its end, I hope to take fencing classes, learn photography and hike more.”

Learn more about Jordan and Doyon Languages Online at, or contact the Foundation at 907.459.2048 or

Doyon Foundation is seeking interested and qualified applicants for our open Doyon Languages Online II project assistant position. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a collaborative effort to revitalize the Native languages of the Doyon region! Applications are currently being accepted online through the close date of Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

Under the supervision of the language revitalization program director, the Doyon Languages Online II project assistant will assist with the coordination and implementation of the Doyon Languages Online II project, with a special emphasis on developing a community of speakers and learners. This is a full-time position based at the Doyon Foundation office in Fairbanks.

Doyon Languages Online is a Doyon Foundation effort to develop online language-learning lessons for nine of the 10 endangered 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). Once completed, the lessons will be available for free to all interested language learners.

Some of the duties and responsibilities of the project assistant are preparing materials for work sessions; planning for trainings; overseeing timelines addressing problems; and managing assets like recordings, videos and photos. View the online job description for a complete list of essential functions.

The ideal applicant has a bachelor’s degree in education; at a minimum, candidates must have a high school diploma. Applicants should also have knowledge of Doyon region language and culture, and experience in education. Experience with computer-assisted language learning, working with diverse populations, community development, and computer/video equipment is preferred. View the online job description for full requirement details.

If you are interested in being our next Doyon Languages Online II project assistant, please view the job description and apply online. And if you know someone who may be interested, please help spread the word! Applications will be accepted through the close date of Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

You can learn more about Doyon Foundation and our language revitalization program at