Doyon Foundation News


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Doyon Foundation
615 Bidwell Avenue, Suite 101
Fairbanks, Alaska  99701
907-459-2048
foundation@doyon.com

 

Doyon Foundation hosted a language gathering for Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) languages on June 5, 6 and 7, 2018, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks – Tok Campus. The group of 25 participants met from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. all three days. The workshop, which was free and open to all, was a great opportunity for those wanting to learn or improve their skills in these languages.

Instructors Irene Arnold and Cheryl Silas, along with Elders and speakers from both languages, introduced learners to essentials of Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana). Topics covered included basic literacy, conversation and listening.

“The most meaningful thing that I took away from the gathering was being there with the Elders and listening to them speak the language fluently with each other and being able to share that knowledge with the younger people that were there,” said participant Adena Cronk of Northway.

Among the activities, attendees learned and practiced introducing themselves in the language (see the Upper Tanana introduction worksheet here, and Tanacross introduction worksheet here), and translated “I am learning our language” with Elders. Tanacross instructor Irene Arnold shared a DVD titled “K’anech’oxdekdiigh: I’m Not Going to Teach You,” a collaboration between the Tanacross community and trained linguistic specialists from the Alaska Native Language Center. View the video here.

“The main takeaway for me was learning my introduction,” said participant Chance Shank of Dot Lake. He added, “I was glad to meet and speak with the other people at the gathering who are fluent in the language.”

Participant Peg Charlie of Tanacross agreed: “For someone who understands the language and grew up with it, it felt really good to be amongst our people and it was a good feeling to hear the language.”

At the gathering, Doyon Foundation staff also introduced the Doyon Languages Online project, which is working to create highly accessible online language-learning lessons for the endangered languages of the Doyon region.

There are currently two phases of the project. Phase one, which has funding support from the Administration of Native Americans (ANA), is focusing on five of the 10 Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in). Phase two, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program (ANEP), will increase the number of people who speak the Doyon region languages of Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross), Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana), Deg Xinag and Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim).

The Foundation is currently seeking people interested in working as content creators and linguistic consultants on the ANEP-funded phase of Doyon Languages Online. Find more information and apply on the Foundation blog.

The ANEP-funded phase of Doyon Languages Online is a partnership with the Alaska Gateway School District (AGSD), and this gathering served as a kick-off to the three-year project. AGSD Superintendent Scott MacManus joined the group discussion, and is very enthusiastic about working together on this project.

“It was exciting to see first hand, the building momentum for the work being done by the language revitalization group this summer, and Alaska Gateway School District is thrilled to be a partner in this important and life-changing project,” MacManus said.

The Iditarod Area School District is another grant partner, and plans are underway for a similar gathering in their region for Deg Xinag and Dinak’i languages.

Before the gathering concluded, the group decided on a series of action items for moving forward over the next couple of years. These included:

  • Building on the language network across Alaska
  • Greeting others in the language
  • Making labels in the home as a reminder to stay in the language
  • Connecting with other learners
  • Creating a language domain in the home (a place in the home where you will only speak in the language)

“It gave me a boost to want to work more with the language,” said participant Lorraine Titus of Northway. “What I enjoyed the most was the flexibility of the event; we got things done but we didn’t have to follow an agenda.”

“Tsin’ee to all who joined us in Tok for the Nee’anděg’ and Nee’aanèegn’ language gathering,” said Diloola Erickson, Doyon Languages Online project manager. “The work that came out of the gathering was amazing and we’re excited to start working more with the participants and their language communities in the future.”

The Foundation offers a special thank you to the Elders present at the gathering, including Avis Sam of Northway, Roy David of Tetlin, Rosa Brewer of Northway, Cora Demit of Northway and Lorraine Titus of Northway.

For more information on Doyon Foundation, Doyon Languages Online or upcoming language revitalization events, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com.

 

Born and raised in Fairbanks, Julian Thibedeau is a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He’ll earn a certificate in rural human services in 2019 and begin his associate’s degree in the Tribal Management Program at UAF in the fall of 2018. Julian’s mother is the late Ruth Maxine Thibedeau; his grandparents are the late Richard “Shorty” Thibedeau of Stone Lake, Wisconsin, and the late Ruth Lillian Mayo of Rampart. 

Julian, 29, is a full-time maintenance technician at Doyon, Limited. He received a Morris Thompson scholarship for the 2017 – 2018 school year.

JulianDoyon Foundation: Julian, you were away from school from several years before earning a Doyon Foundation scholarship and pursuing your degree. What prompted you to go back to school?

Julian: It had been 10 or 12 years since I’d been to school. College was really foreign to me. I’d say to myself, “Man, what I am even doing here?” It was as if I was in strange territory!

I’d just put my best foot forward, give it my all and not be afraid to ask questions. I’d like to thank my professors and classmates who really helped introduce me to college. It took dedication and perseverance to see it through.

Doyon Foundation: And Doyon Foundation scholarships helped hold you accountable?

Julian: I wanted to keep earning that scholarship to complete my degree and of course I’d have to keep my grades up. The scholarship kind of helped keep me in check because I knew my funding depended on my grades.

I’d like to say thank you to Doyon Foundation. I don’t think it would have been possible to go to school worry free and stress free otherwise.

Doyon Foundation: How did you manage tough courses? Everyone faces them eventually.

Julian: Courses with a lot of writing and research were a challenge. Classes in library science, introduction to databases and resources – these require being able to cite information and I wasn’t familiar with that. My strategy was to just do the assignments. Even if I knew they weren’t 100 percent right, I’d just give it my best effort. I had really helpful professors.

Doyon Foundation: You’re looking forward to finishing the semester and starting an internship with First Alaskans.

Julian: My internship starts June 10 with an orientation week in Anchorage, then an assignment in Fairbanks for the summer. I’d like to intern in behavioral health or community outreach.

I’ll also go fishing during the summer at Rampart with my daughter, Adriel. She’ll be 7 and I want her to have a connection with the land. I think there’s a lot of healing within traditional knowledge, learning from Elders, knowing who you are and where you come from.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve said that Adriel inspires you. How do you mean?

Julian: My daughter is on my mind because I’d like to see the advancement of Alaska Native people, not just my generation but generations to come. In the long-term, I’d like to mentor at-risk youth and those who fall through the cracks. My sobriety and recovery make me want to give back to the community that I used to take away from.

I’m Athabascan, and I drum and sing Athabascan songs. I’d like to go across the country, parts of the United States and Canada, and learn more songs.

Doyon Foundation: Giving back is something you’re committed to.

Julian: Yes. In my free time, I speak at the Fairbanks Native Association’s Youth Treatment Center. I come from that background. Sometimes the youth need people to talk to who know what it’s like to be in treatment.

I’ve also organized a volunteer street cleanup every year for the past three years in downtown Fairbanks and the neighborhood south of downtown. I chose those places because they get overlooked.

I went to the mayor and said that if I got the litter bags and the bags were filled up, would public works pick up all those yellow bags. The answer was yes. It was just another way for me to give back.

Doyon Foundation: Any advice for students who identify with your experiences?

Julian: We all have that inner voice that says you can’t do it, that you’re not worthy. For instance, accepting scholarships and grants felt to me at first as if I was taking a handout. I had to suck up my pride, but then I realized that these things were an opportunity – and not only an opportunity but an obligation to your people, to your tribe, and to yourself.

My advice is simple: Believe in yourself!

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students earn college degrees. 

The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

A Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipient and University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) student from Wasilla, Jasmine Gilpin earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting in May 2018. Her parents are Monica and Joe Gilpin of Wasilla. Jasmine’s maternal grandparents are Irma and Dave Arrants of Wasilla, and her paternal grandparents are Shirley and Ed Knox of Surprise, Arizona.

Jasmine Gilpin with dogsJasmine: In January 2018, I started a semester-long internship in Anchorage at Alaska Permanent Capital Management (APCM) and was introduced to the financial planning industry. Financial planning and investment advising is the perfect career for me.

Doyon Foundation: Because it draws on your strengths.

Jasmine: Yes. It’s a career that involves helping people prepare for a financially secure future. The field is always changing and keeps you on your toes. It involves having to think strategically. I’ve found my passion.

Doyon Foundation: What’s on the horizon for you?

Jasmine: I’ve accepted a full-time position as an associate financial advisor at Alaska Permanent Capital Management. I plan to work there and complete my Series 65 license, which will qualify me as an investment advisor representative.

I’m excited to be finishing one milestone in my life – graduating from UAS – and beginning another. Doyon Foundation scholarships helped me pursue and finish my bachelor’s degree so that I’m graduating with minimal student loan debt.

Doyon Foundation: Your long-term plans include continuing your education in financial planning. What does that involve?

Jasmine: APCM offers amazing support and guidance to its employees. I’ll be working toward my Certified Financial Planner certification, which involves two years of on-the-job experience and an extensive exam.

Doyon Foundation: How did you manage obstacles on the way toward earning your degree?

Jasmine: For me, too much work and no play result in burnout and frustration. The biggest challenge in completing my degree was learning to balance work, a social life, and education.

I’ve learned over the years that I have to take time for myself to enjoy my hobbies, spend time with friends and family, and just living life to the fullest! Finding a balance can be difficult, but it’s necessary.

Doyon Foundation: It helps that you like to be outdoors.

Jasmine: In the winter I’m an extreme backcountry snowmobile rider and in summer I love to hike, camp, fish and hunt. I love the outdoors and try to spend as much time as possible enjoying all the activities that Alaska has to offer.

Doyon Foundation:You have real-world advice when it comes to college. What should other students know?

Jasmine: Obtaining a college degree can feel very difficult and overwhelming at times. Do not stop!

Taking even one class a semester is better than taking a complete break. Your education is something no one can ever take away from you. It’s powerful and it’s yours. Just keep chugging along!

Doyon Foundation: Any special thank-you’s?

Jasmine:My mom has been there through thick and thin, always cheering me on. Thank you, Mom!

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students earn college degrees. 

The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

 

DF_41_OpenPosition Promotion_blog

Seeking admin assistant applicants

 

Doyon Foundation is seeking applicants for our open administrative assistant position. If you are interested in being part of a dedicated team working to support students and revitalize Doyon region languages, this could be the job for you! This full-time position is based at the Foundation office in Fairbanks.

Our administrative assistant works closely with the Foundation executive director, handles administrative duties and provides support to our board of directors. This position also works with the Foundation team to support our language revitalization program, scholarship programs, community relations and fund development.

To apply, you’ll need to be a high school graduate or equivalent, have three years office experience, be able to type 45 WPM and use Microsoft Office programs, and have a valid driver’s license and access to a registered, insured vehicle.

If you or someone you know are interested in this position, please visit the Doyon, Limited employment webpage to learn more. To apply, create a Talent Bank profile on the Doyon website and then complete the online application. Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, June 6.

Doyon Foundation will be closed on Monday, May 28th in observance of Memorial Day and will reopen on Tuesday, May 29th at 8:00 a.m.

Our sincere gratitude to the brave men and woman who have served and continue to serve our country.  We wish you a safe and happy holiday weekend.

Justin

Justin Woods, Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipient

A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient and graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Justin Woods is the son of Marsha Woods of Fairbanks. Justin plays professional hockey as a right-handed defenseman in the ECHL with the Jacksonville, Florida-based Icemen.

After earning his degree in business administration in 2017 from UAF, Justin joined the ECHL Icemen, one of the professional hockey teams affiliated with the National Hockey League. Affiliation means that Icemen team members are positioned to play in both the NHL and ECHL.

Justin earned a Morris Thompson scholarship from Doyon Foundation and credits the scholarship for helping him afford books and other materials as he worked toward his degree. His goals include building his resume and playing professional hockey.

In 2014, when he was 20 years old, Justin underwent cancer treatment, a period that he says has been his greatest obstacle so far. Among lessons he’s learned: “Don’t take anything for granted and give it your all!”

Morris Thompson Portrait

The late Morris Thompson

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students earn college degrees. 

The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classicraises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

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