Doyon Languages Online courses available for free to all interested learners

Doyon Foundation is pleased to announce the release of the expanded Holikachuk language-learning course. The expanded course is the latest release from the Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online project, which is developing online courses for the languages of the Doyon region. The courses are available for free to all interested language learners; sign up at doyonfoundation.com/dlo.

Part one of the Holikachuk course was released in June 2019, and included five units, each with five lessons of content, reviews and unit assessments, as well as seven conversational videos with subtitles in English and Holikachuk, and 15 culture and grammar notes. Part two adds units six through 10 to the already published content.

With very few fluent speakers remaining, development of the Holikachuk language-learning course was perhaps the most challenging – and one of the most important – efforts of Doyon Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online project.

“The Holikachuk content creation team was in a difficult position in comparison with the other languages this project focused on. While language is still a part of the community in Grayling, the most fluent Holikachuk Elder, Wilson ‘Tiny’ Deacon, passed away in 2012. Thankfully, there are still others who have a working knowledge of the Holikachuk language, so between archival recordings and memories of cherished Elders who remain, the content creation team drafted, proofed and recorded 10 units of material,” said Allan Hayton, director of the Foundation’s language revitalization program.

The Foundation extends a special thank you to the Holikachuk content creation team, Elizabeth Keating and Giulia Oliverio-Deacon, with special contributions from Tristan Madros, Elizabeth Painter, Mary Deacon and Harriet Nicholas; as well as the Organized Village of Grayling; Tribal Assistant Rachel Freireich; Chief Ivan Demientieff; Grayling School; Shirley Clark; Doyon, Limited; the Alaska Native Language Center and Alaska Native Language Archive; and all the people who worked with the Holikachuk language from the 1970s to today. Their work makes this course possible.

The expanded Holikachuk course joins other currently available courses in Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Denaakk’e (Koyukon) and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), as well as a special set of Hän language lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby. Interested learners are encouraged to sign up to access the courses at www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo.

The Foundation and its team of content creators and linguists are in the process of finalizing additional Doyon Languages Online courses in Holikachuk, Hän, Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana).

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. The project is funded by grants from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) and the Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP).

Doyon Foundation is encouraging new users to sign up and existing users to continue their learning with the DLO On the Go Contest. Between now and June 30, Doyon Languages Online learners earn one prize entry for every unit they complete. All users will then be entered into a random drawing for the chance to win prizes, including an iPad mini, iPod touch and Apple gift card. Learn more and sign up at https://bit.ly/DLOontheGo.

For more information on the Holikachuk course and the Doyon Languages Online project, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo or contact Allan Hayton, Doyon Foundation language revitalization program director, at 907.459.2162 or haytona@doyon.com. For assistance signing up for or using Doyon Languages Online, view the instructional video series on YouTube.