Doyon Foundation News


We had such a great time at the Doyon, Limited annual meeting this year. It was wonderful to meet and visit with so many of you who stopped by our table, and we appreciated the opportunity to present to you during the annual meeting. We took lots of photos – check them out on Facebook and be sure to tag yourself!

During our presentation, our executive director, Doris Miller, and language revitalization program director, Allan Hayton, shared about the two primary focus areas here at the Foundation – scholarships and language revitalization.

We were excited to announce that we distributed almost $1 million dollars in scholarships last year alone! And so far this year, we have awarded nearly 300 scholarships totaling more than $377,000.

We also reminded everyone planning to attend school this fall to mark their calendar for our fall scholarship application deadline coming up on May 15. This is the deadline to apply for competitive scholarships for the 2018 – 2019 academic year and basic scholarships for the fall semester. Applicants will apply using our brand new online scholarship application system, which offers a more streamlined, user-friendly experience for both our students and staff.

A reminder that our scholarships are not just for students pursuing traditional four-year degrees at a college or university. Funding is also available for Doyon shareholders who want to pursue vocational training. Vocational students are eligible for basic and competitive scholarships, as well as our short-term vocational scholarship, which pays the cost of the course or training, up to $1,000.

We also highlighted two brand new scholarships at the Foundation … the Marissa Flannery and Aaron Schutt Legal Scholarship Fund, and the Mary Jane and Hugh Fate, Jr. Leadership Fund. Doyon President and CEO Aaron Schutt and his wife, Marissa Flannery, partnered with Doyon, Limited last year to establish the endowment for a new competitive scholarship for aspiring young lawyers. Jennifer Fate, a member of the Foundation board of directors, established the Mary Jane and Hugh Fate, Jr. Leadership Fund to honor her parents’ accomplishments for the betterment of the Doyon people.

Since so many shareholders gather at the annual meeting, we took the opportunity to invite our alumni – which includes any previous Foundation scholarship recipients – to connect with us. We’d love to hear where you are and what you are doing, and continue to stay in touch with you. Foundation alumni can contact us at 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

Allan then shared about all the exciting activities taking place in the area of language revitalization, including Doyon Languages Online, which is an online language-learning platform for Doyon region languages. We are currently working on creating lessons for nine of the 10 Doyon region languages. Access to the lessons will be free and available to all interested learners.

Interested language learners can soon get a preview of Doyon Languages Online, as we are getting ready to launch a series of Hän language lessons by the late Isaac Juneby. Keep an eye on our website, blog, email and Facebook for updates on these lessons.

Allan reminded interested organizations to get their applications in for the Our Language grants, which provide funding to communities or organizations that wish to undertake a project to revitalize their Native language. Last year, eight proposals were funded up to $5,000. This year, we will award grants of up to $8,000. The deadline to submit a proposal was March 26, and we will be announcing this year’s recipients early this summer.

With a program growing as quickly as the language revitalization program, it is important to have a plan for the future. Allan updated everyone at the annual meeting on a recent strategic planning session that explored developing long-term strategies, identifying concrete steps for language revitalization, and inspiring new grassroots efforts for our region.

Doris closed the presentation with “thank yous” in each of the Doyon region languages, showing appreciation to our many supporters, including Doyon, Limited, the Foundation staff, board and volunteers, Nee Ts’ee Neyh and Pick. Click. Give. donors, Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic golfers and sponsors, and all of our language teachers, learners and supporters.

In addition to our presentation, we staffed a table at the annual meeting, where we had a video showing Doyon Languages Online activities, a language-learning demonstration, a language map, and nametags that read “Hello, my name is …” in each of the Doyon region languages.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by! We look forward to seeing you all again next year, and hope you will stay in touch with us throughout the year by:

Visiting our website

Subscribing to our blog

Signing up to receive emails

Following us on Facebook

Want to know more about Doyon Languages Online – what it is, why we’re doing it, and how you can get involved? Check out these Doyon Languages Online FAQs to learn more!

DF_DoyonLanguageMap_Feb2018

What is the Doyon Languages Online project?

Doyon Languages Online is an online language-learning platform for Doyon region languages. We are currently working on creating lessons for nine of the 10 Doyon region languages. The project is intended to revitalize the languages of the Doyon region, which are all severely to critically endangered, and are not being passed on to younger generations quickly enough to ensure their survival.

How is it being funded?

The first five language courses are funded by a three-year, $900,000 Administration for Native Americans grant. These courses will cover Holikachuk, Denaakk’e, Benhti Kenaga’, Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa.

The next four language courses are funded by a three-year, $977,423 U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program Grant. These courses will cover Denak’i, Dihthâad Xt’een lin aanděeg’, Née’aaneegn’, and Deg Xinag.

Is it going to be free?

Yes, access to the lessons will be free and available to all interested learners.

How will a user access Doyon Languages Online?

Users will access the platform through a link on the Doyon Foundation website.

When will this be available?

The first five language courses will be published before the end of 2018. An additional four language courses will follow in the coming three years.

Will my language be online?

The first five courses will be introductory lessons in Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa, Benhti Kenaga’, Holikachuk, Hän, and Denaakk’e. These will be available by the end of 2018. See a map of the Doyon region languages on the Foundation website.

Demo lessons for these courses are available on the Doyon Languages Online webpage.

Who is developing these courses?

Doyon Foundation is working with language community members, curriculum experts, and our software partner to develop these courses.

How are the communities being involved?

Doyon Foundation supports members of the language communities to become “content creators” – these are people who generate learning content and author lessons. For each language course, we try to have a team of at least two content creators. Materials are then reviewed for accuracy by speakers from the community, as well as by linguists or professional educators who ensure the lessons stay true to the Doyon Languages Online curriculum.

Who should I contact with comments or questions?

Please direct all questions to either Nathaniel Feemster, the Doyon Languages Online project manager, at 907.459.2107 or feemstern@doyon.com, or Allan Hayton, Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization director, at 907.459.2162 or haytona@doyon.com.

 

 

Born in Fairbanks and raised in Hughes, Tanya Kaquatosh is the daughter of Barbara and the late Norman Bifelt Beatus of Hughes. Tanya’s maternal grandparents are Johnson and the late Bertha Moses of Allakaket, and her paternal grandparents are Sophie and Henry Beatus of Hughes.Tanya K headshot

A graduate of Stanford University and Arizona State University, Tanya Kaquatosh was named regulatory affairs director for Doyon Utilities in 2015, a position she accepted after joining the Fairbanks-based company in 2012. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford in 2003 and a master’s degree in business administration from Arizona State in 2013.

Tanya received Doyon Foundation’s basic scholarship as well as the Morris Thompson scholarship, a competitive award honoring the late Alaska Native leader and former chief executive of Doyon, Limited. Tanya credits the Foundation for help throughout her college career.

“The staff was always supportive and accommodating,” she recalls. “Doyon Foundation helped me advance my education not only with financial support but with encouragement. My affiliation with Doyon has allowed me to grow my educational and professional network.”

Tanya’s professional life is a lesson in steady advances. After earning her undergraduate degree, she went to work at Stanford in the financial aid office, where students seek help to fund their college education. She also worked as a barista in the Bay Area before moving to Fairbanks where she was employed from 2006 to 2008 as the cultural program coordinator at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. Tanya developed the vision for Alaska Native cultural programming at the center, which opened in Fairbanks in 2008. The center upholds Morris Thompson’s legacy by promoting improved understanding between Alaska Native and non-Native communities.

In 2008, Tanya was named executive assistant to the president of Doyon, Limited – a job she held until joining Doyon Utilities in 2012 as a financial specialist. Her promotion in 2015 to regulatory affairs director involves her in utility rate filings, revenue requirements and other tariff matters.

Her undergraduate years taught her the value of asking for help.

“Oftentimes we don’t ask even though there are many good people who are willing and able to assist with tutoring, mentoring, encouragement, or informal and formal counseling,” Tanya says.

Her top tip for students is to take care of their mental and physical well-being. For instance, while earning her master’s degree Tanya worked full time and attended to life as a wife and mother. But she says that period seemed more balanced than her undergraduate days: “The stresses of schoolwork were much more manageable because I took better care of myself.”

Her focus today includes family life with her husband, Steve Kaquatosh, and children, 10-year-old Skye and stepdaughter Kaytona, 15. Tanya enjoys reading, exercise, travel and volunteering in school-based civic projects, such as We The People and Kids Voting. “I love supporting our youth and education,” says Tanya. She also has volunteered with the Alaska Native Education Parent Advisory Committee, a group within the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

In addition to pursuing her career with Doyon Utilities, Tanya’s goals include learning to speak Denaakk’e (Koyukon). Tanya, who is both Koyukon Athabascan and Inupiaq Eskimo, was named Aluqsi after her great-great grandmother, Ida Beatus, who was Koyukon.

“She was given the name Aluqsi by the Inupiaq people,” Tanya recalls. In English the name translates as “warm person.”

Sierra Evans is the daughter of Glenn and Tami Evans of Manley Hot Springs and Nenana; her grandparents are Thomas and Gwen Evans of Rampart, and Wayne and Marion Taylor of Nenana. Her hometown is Palmer.

SierraSierra earned Doyon Foundation scholarships for four straight years before graduating in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Arizona. She’s employed today in Los Angeles as an analyst with the global financial company Willis Tower Watson, and credits the Foundation for scholarship help so that she could go to school in Arizona.

“It isn’t easy to stay motivated to make your dreams a reality when you’re far from home,” she says. “My family was extremely supportive. Doyon Foundation scholarships helped immensely.”

Returning home to Alaska helped too. To earn money to stay in school, Sierra worked three summers in a row at Kantishna Roadhouse, the Denali National Park backcountry lodge operated by Doyon Tourism, a subsidiary of Doyon, Limited.

Her goals include continuing her finance career and enrolling in a master’s program in psychology at GCU. She plans to eventually earn a doctorate and pursue a psychology career.

Sierra says that volunteer and community work are important stepping-stones to rewarding work after college graduation. A four-year member of her university’s business club, she served as president for two years when the GCU club was the largest of its kind in Arizona. Competitions in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., expanded her network, as did working for the chair of the business department at her university.

When she learned that Arizona has among the highest rates of high school dropouts, Sierra presented a talk on the importance of earning a high school diploma and planning for college. Volunteer work also helped distinguish her resume; Sierra earned several awards, including being named among the top 10 future business executives in a nationwide competition.

Job interviews found her ready to answer questions based on real-world experience as a student worker and business club president. “Getting involved in volunteer work and work for GCU was the best decision I made,” she says. “The more involved you are, the more opportunities you have.”

Doyon Foundation staff will be at the Doyon Annual Meeting on Friday, March 16, 2018.  Come see us at the Westmark!

The office will also be closed on Monday, March 19th in observance of Traditional Chiefs Day.

Doyon Foundation is seeking candidates for one open seat on our competitive scholarship review committee. Doyon, Limited shareholders age 18+ who live in a rural village within the Doyon region are eligible to serve. The deadline to apply is Friday, April 27. 

Individuals interested in giving back and helping students achieve their full potential are encouraged to consider serving on this important committee, which reviews, evaluates and scores student competitive scholarship applications.

Interested candidates should submit a résumé and a letter of interest outlining why they’d like to serve to Doris Miller, executive director, via email at millerd@doyon.com by Friday, April 27, 2018. The Foundation board of directors will select the new committee member at their next regularly scheduled meeting in Fairbanks.

To qualify for this position, candidates must:

  • Be a Doyon shareholder.
  • Be age 18 or older.
  • Live in a rural village within the Doyon region.
  • Value and support higher education.
  • Be committed to serve a three-year term.
  • Have an internet-accessible computer with recent version of web browser installed (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera).

Please note that per IRS regulations, committee members cannot be employees of the Doyon Family of Companies or Doyon Foundation.

Responsibilities of committee members include:

  • Attending an orientation in May/June in Fairbanks, either in person or via teleconference.
  • Spending 30 – 40 hours reviewing, evaluating and scoring all competitive scholarship applications online via the Doyon Foundation website.
  • Attending a one-day meeting in Fairbanks in June/July to award the scholarships.
  • Meeting with Doyon Foundation administration to review and recommend competitive scholarship policy changes.

Please note that service on the scholarship review committee is on a voluntary basis.

For more information, please contact Doyon Foundation at 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

“When I’m learning my language, I feel like I’m finding myself and understanding who I am.”

 

Diloola Erickson’s parents are Susan Erickson from Kaltag and Arne Erickson from Tok. Her maternal grandparents are the late Irene and Alexander Solomon, Jr., of Kaltag. Her paternal grandparents are Joyce Erickson and the late John Erickson of Tok. Diloola’s language is Denaakk’e (Koyukon).

Diloola edited

Born in Sitka, Diloola Erickson was raised in the Tlingit village of Hoonah in Southeast Alaska, where her favorite part of school was Tlingit class. And though she loved learning Tlingit, she remembers feeling that something was missing.

“I grew up so far from my culture that I always felt distant from it – I always had a longing to know more,” she says.

To help ensure that her 3-year-old daughter, Tsee’ołyeets, is immersed in her language and culture from an early age, Diloola is focused on becoming fluent in Denaakk’e, the language of the Athabascan people of the central Koyukuk and Yukon rivers.

Along with Dewey Hoffman, who works with language revitalization in Fairbanks, and University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) language instructor Lorraine David, Diloola co-hosts a weekly language-learning group at her home and has enrolled her daughter in a language-learning classroom at Fairbanks Native Association. She practices Denaakk’e with her daughter daily, using a Denaakk’e weather wheel and family name chart. “I want to pass on my language and culture so that she’ll always know who she is and where she comes from,” Diloola says.

A Doyon, Limited shareholder, Diloola’s commitment to Denaakk’e fluency deepened when she attended the Alaska Native Studies conference in 2017. It was at an intensive workshop facilitated by Dewey Hoffman that Diloola met Lorraine David, a fluent Denaakk’e speaker who inspired Diloola to start her language journey. Lorraine is a former Doyon Foundation board member and veteran language instructor at UAF.

“I was craving more sessions like that,” Diloola says, and Lorraine agreed to meet with Diloola and her group weekly. She often records their sessions and tries to listen daily to gain vocabulary and pronunciation.

“Lorraine is passionate about passing on our language. She has been one of the biggest supporters in my journey,” Diloola says.

A UAF student graduating in May with a bachelor’s degree in rural development and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Diloola plans to pursue work in positions that will allow her to help raise up Alaska Native people. She sees language revitalization as part of the efforts to create positive change in Alaska Native communities. DErickson

As a First Alaskans Institute summer intern at Doyon Foundation in 2017, Diloola contributed to the Doyon Languages Online team by developing multimedia materials promoting language revitalization in the Doyon region. The team’s favorites include stickers featuring beaded gloves conveying everyday phrases in Denaakk’e, like “Enee!” (“good!”). Familiar to any conference-goer, “Hello, my name is …” adhesive name tags were created by Diloola in each of the Doyon region languages. Name tags were available at school fairs throughout Anchorage and Fairbanks.

edzooDiloola also helped lead a workshop at the 2017 First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference, “Taking Language Revitalization Online – Using GIFs to Get the Word Out.” Participants developed their own GIFs – a format that animates images to easily share them online – and brainstormed other forms of social media aimed at encouraging people to take join in language revitalization.

“Ultimately my goal is to use my education to uplift my culture and the Alaska Native community,” Diloola says. “Learning my language is the biggest part of learning who I am.”

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we are noticing a group of people who are committed and dedicating their own time 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.

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