Doyon Foundation News


Doyon Foundation awards $50,000 for language revitalization projects

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Doyon Foundation is pleased to announce the 2019 recipients of the Our Language grant awards. This year, the Foundation is awarding a total of $50,000 to nine organizations to support community-based language revitalization projects.

“The 2019 Our Language grant awardees represent a dedicated group of community members coming together on behalf of our ancestral languages. We commend their efforts, and look forward to great outcomes from each of these projects,” says Doris Miller, executive director of Doyon Foundation.

The 10 ancestral languages of the Doyon region are all severely to critically endangered, and will be lost within the span of a few generations if no action is taken. To address this crisis, Doyon, Limited established the language grant program in 2012, and the Doyon Foundation language revitalization program now manages it.

“Each year the situation for our languages grows more urgent, and the call to action ever louder and clearer. Doyon Foundation is proud to support our communities and their efforts to learn and teach the languages passed down to us from our grandparents,” says Allan Hayton, the Foundation’s language revitalization program director.

This year’s grant awards are even more significant, as 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages, as recognized by the United Nations. “Languages play a crucial role in our daily lives. They are not only our first medium for communication, education and social integration, but are also at the heart of each person’s unique identity, cultural history and memory,” states the UN website.

“Each of the languages in the Doyon region deserve our daily recognition in 2019, and every year,” Hayton urges. “Get involved, learn, teach, speak your language each and every day.”

The 2019 Our Language grant recipients include:

Athabascan Fiddlers Association. KRFF 89.1 Voice Of Denali broadcasts across the Doyon region, with listeners regularly calling in to contribute to the “Native Word of the Day” and “Phrase of the Day” in the many languages across the region. KRFF’s Our Language grant project involves isolating, cataloging and archiving digital copies of these words and phrases for use in current and future revitalization efforts throughout Interior Alaska. The files will be accessible to learners on the KRFF website.

Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments. A project entitled “Gwich’in Language Learning & Material Creation Around Salmon Fishing” will create language-learning opportunities and materials centered around traditional Gwich’in subsistence activities. The project is scheduled to take place in summer 2019, during the Yukon River king salmon runs in late June and early July. Lessons will be centered around the smokehouse along the Yukon River within the village.

Fairbanks Native Association. The Denaakk’e Hʉdełnekkaa are a parent group for students enrolled in the Denaakk’e Head Start program, which is currently in its second year with 15 3 to 5-year-olds enrolled. The goal of the Denaakk’e Hʉdełnekkaa parent group is to support one another, and in turn support the children and teachers in learning and speaking the Denaakk’e language. This project will engage in learning games and activities, work with Elders, meet regularly to learn Denaakk’e, and maintain an open invitation to others interested in learning Denaakk’e.

Koyukuk Tribal Council. This project will create and organize a Denaakk’e language revitalization program, with a mission “to sustain our cultural heritage, traditional lifestyle and healthy environment for future generations.” The project will engage in community language planning, teaching and storytelling through the use of video, posting local place and building names in Denaakk’e language, and fostering a learning environment within the community.

Organized Village of Grayling. This project will involve an 11-week course with 51 students, drawing from lessons created with knowledgeable Elders. Coordinators will create basic word and phrase lists, develop lesson plans, and arrange classes with the goal of all participants mastering basic conversational skills in Holikachuk language. Older students will assist in the recording of lessons, as well as help with teaching younger students.

Native Village of Minto. Tr’ukheyiyh, “We are talking,” is a one-year pilot project that will utilize real-world immersion and online tools to provide language learners of all levels easier access and greater retention by providing a foundation to start, continue or contribute to community language revitalization efforts. The project will draw from new and existing content for Benthi Kokhut’ana Kenaga’, and plans to utilize in-person lesson instruction, summer cultural camp immersion, and recorded lessons shared via YouTube.

Nulato Tribal Council. This project will work to translate the 1983 Central Koyukon workbook into the Lower Koyukon language. There will also be an accompanying video of translations, which will be posted online for learners. All Nulato and Kaltag tribal members will have access via www.nulatotribe.net.

Tanana Tribal Council. The Tanana Cooperative Community Language Preservation and Revitalization Project will continue to create interactive video lessons to teach common phases and conversations by Elders who speak Denaakk’e as used in Tanana, and share materials both in cultural camps and in classrooms.

Tetlin Village Council. This project will focus on promoting the Tetlin dialect of the Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) language through two sessions at Tetlin Culture Days. The sessions support the Tetlin Community Plan priority to “promote language preservation by proactively encouraging cultural activities that bring the community together.” Participants will be provided with copies of the Upper Tanana alphabet, as well as books and CDs from Elders Roy and Cora David.

Last year, the Foundation awarded nine grants totaling $64,000 to support projects including professional development, radio broadcasts, teacher training, audio and video lesson development, language immersion activities, culture camps, and lesson plan development. Read more about the 2018 grant projects on our blog.

For more information on the language revitalization program or Our Language grants, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact the language revitalization program at foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048

The Indigenous languages of the Doyon region:

  • 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
  • Inupiaq
  • Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana)

Foundation shares “great ideas” from 2018 grantees

The recipients of the 2018 Our Language grants, awarded by Doyon Foundation, recently completed their language revitalization projects and submitted reports detailing their efforts and outcomes.

“The 2018 Our Language grantees are a varied group of dedicated and resourceful organizations with great ideas to share with others around the region,” says Allan Hayton, the Foundation’s language revitalization program director.

The 10 ancestral languages of the Doyon region are all severely to critically endangered, and will be lost within the span of a few generations if no action is taken. To address this crisis, Doyon, Limited established the Our Language grant program in 2012, and the Doyon Foundation language revitalization program now manages it.  Since inception of the grant program, $350,000 has been awarded to support a wide range of language revitalization projects.

“The hope of the Our Language grant program is to support community efforts in strengthening languages, cultural identity, traditional wisdom and values so they may be passed on to future generations,” says Doris Miller, Foundation executive director.

The 2018 Our Language grants supported the following language revitalization projects and efforts:

Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC). Jennifer Romer, ANHC’s director of education, and language instructors Alice Hess and Mellisa Heflin attended the Indigenous Language Institute (ILI) 9th Annual Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The institute “provided an opportunity to learn from successful language programs within urban and rural programming to enhance our community continuum,” Romer says. Speakers at ILI’s Institute included Laura Jagles address on “How We Carry and Bestow Knowledge,” and Madison Fulton and Eric Hardy’s look at “Historical Trauma and Cultural Resilience: An Indigenous Framework Approach to Empower Language.”

KRFF Voice of Denali 89.1. KRFF has a large collection of “word of the day” and other phrases in the many Native languages across their listenership area. They had a target of digitizing over 7,000 Native language audio clips from their radio shows. The process involved editing existing “word of the day” and “phrase of the day” electronic files and then broadcasting them out to KRFF’s listening audience in Interior Alaska and beyond. KRFF has posted the Native language clips to their Soundcloud, which can be accessed on their website.

Eagle IRA Council. The Eagle project focused on creating podcasts from books and other learning materials. A community workshop was held on how to create podcasts in the Hän language and develop more learning materials accessible through phones and other devices. The workshop created greater capacity by teaching production skills to community members, and enlisting Eagle School students’ help with the project. The project also created “daily life” instructional videos featuring Bertha Ulvi and Ethel Beck, who shared how to set rabbit snares and clean rabbits in the Hän language. Eagle plans to continue building on this project by developing and submitting a 2019 Administration for Native Americans grant proposal.

Native Village of Fort Yukon. Community youth created their own council and planned a youth and cultural language program, including year-round cultural activities where Gwich’in language is used to teach traditional activities. At a winter culture camp, a participant shared that it was “empowering to speak the language in a positive environment” among their friends. Participating youth shared their experiences on air at the KZPA radio station, highlighting the language skills and cultural knowledge learned through the activities.

Edzeno’ Native Village Council (Nikolai). A Nikolai culture/language camp was held in partnership with the Iditarod Area School District – Top of the Kuskokwim School and Telida Village Council. Nikolai Village offered a culture and language camp with a focus on preserving the Upper Kuskokwim language and igniting a spark in the younger generation. Adult participant Stephanie Petruska shares, “It was good, everything from the way they were taught to just getting together every day that week.”

Native Village of Tanacross. This project provided language and culture classes where participants recorded culture and language. The goals were to document Native culture, including stories and language, and have youth speak the language. Videos and CDs produced from this project will be provided to Tanacross School, and will be available to community members wanting to learn. The project is part of Tanacross’ ongoing push to teach traditional cultural knowledge, and bridge the gap between youth and Elders.

Tanana Tribal Council. This project promoted Denaakk’e language revitalization by encouraging language learners to practice and solidify current skills. The goal was to build a base for students to develop language-learning skills, and to create videos of language lessons. The project is a partnership between Tanana Tribal Council, Tanana City School District and Yukon-Koyukuk School District. Classroom learning opportunities were offered for students in grades K through 5 during the spring semester of the 2017 – 2018 school year and the fall semester of the 2018 – 2019. The videos created through this project are intended to supplement the formal lessons, by adding opportunities to hear the language spoken when a Denaakk’e teacher is not available.

Tetlin Village Council. Tetlin’s project “Enhancing Culture Camp with Language Sessions” took place over the summer. The focus of their project was to promote language revitalization by having local speakers work together to teach participants during the Tetlin culture and wellness camp. Learners worked with traditional stories told by Titus David and learned useful Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) Tetlin dialect expressions during the camp.

The Foundation recently announced the nine recipients of 2019 Our Language grants, which total $50,000. Read more about this year’s recipients and projects on the Foundation blog.

Doyon region tribal governments/tribal councils/communities; nonprofit Alaska Native organizations, societies and community groups; and Alaska Native cultural, educational and recreational organizations/centers are eligible to apply and receive an Our Language grant.

For more information on the language revitalization program or Our Language grants, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact the language revitalization program at foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

The Indigenous languages of the Doyon region:

  • 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

  • Inupiaq

  • Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana)

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Support Doyon Foundation when you apply for your PFD by March 31 

Alaskans have the very unique opportunity to support the nonprofits and causes they care about by making a Pick. Click. Give. pledge when they complete their PFD applications. The application deadline for the 2019 PFD is nearly here – applications are due Sunday, March 31. If you’ve already applied for your PFD, it is easy to log back in to your account and add a Pick. Click. Give. pledge.

When you Pick. Click. Give. to Doyon Foundation, you are supporting not one, but two important areas: scholarships for students, as well as efforts to revitalize the endangered Alaska Native languages of the Doyon region.

Since 1989, Doyon Foundation has been providing educational, career and cultural opportunities to enhance the identity and quality of life for Doyon shareholders. At last count, we have awarded more than $10.6 million in scholarships to thousands of students! Last year alone, we awarded $820,870 to 412 students pursuing traditional four-year degrees, as well as certificates, associate degrees, graduate studies and vocational training. Visit our blog to read profiles featuring students who have benefitted from our generous Pick. Click. Give. donors.

In addition to our robust scholarship program, we have undertaken a leadership role in the revitalization of the Doyon region languages. Of the 20 Alaska Native languages, 10 of them are based in the Doyon region – and are all endangered. Through our language revitalization program and Doyon Languages Online project, we are working with language speakers and interested learners to ensure that our Native languages survive and thrive for future generations.

Last year, 52 donors contributed a total of $3,200 to Doyon Foundation. Help us exceed this amount by making your Pick. Click. Give. pledge today! Remember – the deadline to apply for your 2019 PFD is March 31, and if you’ve already applied, it’s not too late to add a Pick. Click. Give. gift!

You can learn more about Doyon Foundation and our work on our website or blog, or by contacting us at 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

 

JennaWe are excited to introduce you to our new scholarship program manager, Jenna Sommer! Jenna started her new position in spring 2019, and you will be seeing her name in your inbox, hearing her voice on the phone, and seeing her friendly face at upcoming events.

While the scholarship program manager position is new for Jenna, she is not new to Doyon Foundation. In fact, Jenna has been our data entry technician since 2015, so she is already very familiar with the Foundation staff, students and processes.

“I enjoy working with students and helping them achieve their educational goals,” she said. “I want to help our students succeed!”

Jenna was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is the daughter of Diane Evans-Sommer of Galena, Alaska, and Fred Sommer of Nulato, Alaska. She is the granddaughter of Dorothy Sommer and the late Fred Sommer, Sr., both from Nulato, Alaska, and Lilly and Alfred Evans from Galena, Alaska. Jenna has one daughter, age 12.

Jenna holds an associate of applied science degree in medical assisting, a healthcare reimbursement certificate, and a medical/dental reception certificate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She looks forward to starting classes toward her bachelor’s degree this fall.

Jenna is a Doyon, Limited shareholder and a past Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient. Prior to Doyon Foundation, she worked for Chief Andrew Isaac Health Center as a care coordinator for nearly six years.

Outside of work, Jenna enjoys organizing, traveling with family, reading mysteries and horror, activities with her daughter, and walking.

If you have any questions or need assistance with Foundation scholarships, please contact Jenna at 907.459.2049 or sommerj@doyon.com.

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Did you graduate this year? Or are you expecting to graduate in academic year 2018 – 2019? If so, tell us all about it so we can help you celebrate!

We are asking all Doyon Foundation students who are graduating during the 2018 – 2019 school year to complete a short graduate information request form by Monday, May 6.

We’ll feature the information you share in our popular annual graduate yearbook! Check out the 2018 graduate yearbook on our website.

This is our opportunity to celebrate all of your hard work and accomplishments! So please take a few moments now to fill out our graduate questionnaire.

Also, be sure to mark your calendar for our 2019 graduate reception on Friday, May 10! Watch for more info coming soon.

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There are two seats available on the Doyon Foundation competitive scholarship review committee. 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. Applications are due Monday, May 6, 2019.

To qualify for this position, candidates must:

  • Be a Doyon shareholder.
  • Be age 18 or older.
  • 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).
  • Attend an orientation in May/June in Fairbanks, either in person or via teleconference.
  • Spend 30 – 40 hours reviewing, evaluating and scoring all competitive scholarship applications online via the Doyon Foundation website.
  • Attend a one-day meeting in Fairbanks in June/July to award the scholarships.
  • Meet with Doyon Foundation administration to review and recommend competitive scholarship policy changes.

Please note that per IRS regulations, committee members cannot be employees of the Doyon Family of Companies or Doyon Foundation. Board members are also not eligible to serve on the committee. Also note that service on the scholarship review committee is on a voluntary basis.

Interested candidates should complete and submit the candidate application by Monday, May 6, 2019. The Doyon Foundation board of directors will select the new committee member at their next regularly scheduled meeting in Fairbanks.

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

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As the Doyon Foundation office will be closed on Friday, March 15 for the Doyon, Limited annual meeting, we have extended the deadline to apply for our summer basic scholarships. The extended deadline to submit applications for summer scholarships is Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 5 p.m. 

Part-time students are eligible to receive an $800 basic scholarship and full-time students can receive a $1,200 basic scholarship. To be considered part-time, students must be enrolled in 3 to 11 credits (or 2 to 8 credits for graduate students). Full-time students are those enrolled in 12 or more credits (9 or more credits for graduate students).

Remember that our basic scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so get your application in as soon as possible!

To be eligible for a Doyon Foundation scholarship, you must:

  • Be enrolled to Doyon, Limited or be the child of an original enrollee
  • 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

Students must apply through our online scholarship portal, available on our website. First time using the new system? See our step-by-step instructions on how to create a new account. Questions on the application process? Check out our tutorial on how to apply for a scholarship.

To apply for a summer basic scholarship, you will need to submit:

  • Basic scholarship online application
  • Proof of academic enrollment (Summer class schedule, plus document showing current degree program and field of study
  • Transcripts (keep reading – more on this below!)

DF_95_General Transcripts Infographic_v1We 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 only need to be submitted once per academic year (which runs August through July).
  • If you’re a “new” student (in other words, you didn’t receive a fall 2018 or spring 2019 scholarship), then you need to submit official transcripts by the March 19 deadline.
  • If you’re a “returning” student (meaning you received a fall 2018 or spring 2019 scholarship), you can submit unofficial transcripts. We know you won’t have transcripts for the spring semester by March 19, so the deadline for you to submit them is May 10, 2019.

Already submitted your application? 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.

We also encourage you to review our scholarship resource handbook for all the details on transcripts, eligibility and application requirements. You are also welcome to give us a call or send us an email anytime – we are here to help!

Remember – the deadline to apply for a summer 2019 basic scholarship has been extended to Tuesday, March 19! If you have questions, contact us at foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

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