Doyon Foundation News


Doyon Foundation’s annual graduate reception is tomorrow at 2pm at the Doyon Industrial Facility (615 Bidwell Avenue)! We are pleased to announce our speakers – Kathleen Meckel Hildebrand, alumni speaker and Esther Frykman, student speaker. Come and hear what they have to share about their educational and career experiences and support our 2016-17 graduates! We’ll see you there.

The Doyon Languages Online program has had a busy spring! Read on for recaps of recent activities, and be sure to subscribe to the Doyon Foundation blog to receive future monthly updates.

Here’s what you will find in our spring update:

Doyon Languages Online Project Gets Underway

Language Demos Now Available

Presenting at the Alaska Native Studies Conference

Collaborating on Language Revitalization

Get Involved


Doyon Languages Online Project Gets Underway

The Doyon Languages Online (DLO) project got underway with a gathering of educators, speakers, and curriculum developers at Doyon Foundation on Saturday, February 18, 2017. Doyon Foundation Executive Director Doris Miller along with board president Lanien Livingston welcomed key representatives from five languages: Denaakk’e, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Hän, Holikachuk, and Behnti Kenaga’.

The purpose of the meeting was to begin the first phase of a three-year project to create and post basic lessons online through partner 7000 Languages. 7000 Languages is a non-profit that connects endangered language communities with the technology to teach, learn, and revive their languages. The technology used in the DLO project is donated by Transparent Language. The open source platform will have the capacity to be continually modified and added to, ensuring it will be a valuable resource for learners for many generations to come. Ultimately, the project will include all languages in the Doyon region.

The day began with attendees introducing themselves in their own languages. Eliza Jones expressed that she was happy to be involved in the project, and that “working with my Denaakk’e language is nourishment for the soul.” As we finished the circle of introductions, Minto elder Sarah Silas said she loved hearing everyone speaking Athabascan language, and to her it sounded like “the most beautiful music, like all of the birds singing together and making the most amazing song.” She inspired the room with her warm comforting smile and gave everyone love and hope. Sarah shared that she was “so happy and proud that younger people were doing this good work.”

To familiarize everyone with the Transparent Language software, attendees broke into groups and recorded short conversations in their respective languages. This activity was instructive for everyone involved, and served as a “pilot demo” for the work ahead. These demos are available to preview at the end of this article.

The group enjoyed moose soup and fry bread for lunch, prepared by Doyon Foundation admin Sommer Stickman, and the crew at Doyon Facilities. After lunch Vera Weiser brought everyone back together with an uplifting song, “Onee’,” made by Evelyn Alexander as a prayer for a safe return of her granddaughter from firefighting in the Lower 48.

Sunday, February 19 was day two of the weekend workshop, and was a smaller group that focused on creating a template or “roadmap” for the 10 units of lessons in the project. Team members shared their ideas for creating “Day 1, Lesson 1” of the first unit. A development team will create a complete document for the 10 units by July, and this document will serve as a style guide for all five languages.

The DLO project strives to create a collaborative space for all team members to produce the best learning material possible. Doyon Foundation language committee member Rochelle Adams of Beaver stated, “I’m honored to do this good work for our people. I’m grateful to work alongside our elders and to connect with others that share the same passion and fire to put the breath back into our languages!”

David Engels of Minto added, “We are good Athabascans who travel and do not forget who we are, or where we come from.”

Darren Deacon of Kalskag has always loved languages, and has studied Russian and Japanese among other languages. His family teased him that he “loved to talk so much that he had to learn five different languages so he could talk some more.” This project will provide an opportunity for him to learn his Holikachuk language.

Language committee member and Holikachuk elder Elizabeth Keating felt that “It was special, heart-warming, hopeful, exciting and more. I especially enjoyed Darren’s enthusiasm for learning our language.”

Overall, it was a great weekend, and the group represented a model of collaboration that included elders, PhD-level professors, community members, and teachers that share a passion for the ancestral languages of our region.

Alexa Little, executive director of 7000 Languages, shared after the meeting, “We do a lot of our work over video conference, so it was a special experience for me to visit Alaska and meet the Doyon Languages Online team in person. I’m so excited watching this project take shape — it’s clear that everyone involved is extremely passionate about revitalizing these languages.”


Language Demos Now Available

Doyon Languages Online (DLO) is excited to announce our first series of demo lessons! These demos were created during the February 18 and 19 kick-off meeting, and provide short examples of what the DLO project is creating.

Test out demos of lessons in Denaakk’e, Holikachuk, Hän, Benhti Kenaga’, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in) by clicking on the icons below:

Han Demo button

Benhti button

holikachuk button

dinjii button

denaakke button


Presenting at the Alaska Native Studies Conference

The 2017 Alaska Native Studies Conference was held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) April 7 – 9. Doyon Foundation staff Allan Hayton and Nathaniel Feemster presented at this year’s conference, sharing updates on the Doyon Languages Online (DLO) project.

Attendees at their presentation learned more about the DLO project, and were able to test out demos of lessons in Denaakk’e, Holikachuk, Hän, Benhti Kenaga’, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in). Allan also facilitated a Gwich’in language preconference session along with Caroline Tritt-Frank and Kenneth Frank, and co-presented on a panel for the Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh language nest.

The 2017 Alaska Native Studies Conference was an inspiring gathering of people, ideas, and hope for the future of our languages and cultures of the Doyon region and across the state. We look forward to the 2018 conference scheduled to be held in Juneau.

See more event photos on Facebook!


Collaborating on Language Revitalization

Doyon Languages Online (DLO) is a unique collaborative effort between five languages: Denaakk’e, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Benhti Kenaga’, Hän, and Holikachuk. Due to the great distance between team members, collaboration takes place via technology such as Google Drive, email, video and teleconferencing.

We were fortunate to have everyone in the same room February 18 and 19, and we are aiming to host another gathering before July. The DLO project has held two more collaborative meetings (one on March 26 and one on April 23) via audio teleconference with the development team since the February 19 initial development meeting.

During these collaborative meetings, we share and discuss the material each language team has developed in the time between meetings. These meetings capitalize on the creativity and passion of each language team and allow them to work in conjunction, meaning that each language benefits from the work produced.

See more photos on Facebook!


Get Involved

If you’d like to get involved in the Doyon Languages Online efforts to revitalize our Native languages, or want to learn more, please contact Allan Hayton at 907.459.2162 or haytona@doyon.com, or Nathaniel Feemster at 907.459.2107 or feemstern@doyon.com.

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO WEDNESDAY, MAY 17

photo boothDid you graduate last year? Or are you expecting to graduate in academic year 2016-2017? If you are a Doyon, Limited shareholder, or are the child of an original shareholder, Doyon Foundation wants to hear from you!

We are asking all Doyon, Limited shareholders and children of original shareholders who are graduating during the 2016-2017 school year to complete a short graduation information request form. We have extended the deadline to Wednesday, May 17 to allow more students to participate. You do not need to be a Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient to participate.

We’ll feature the information you share in our popular annual graduate yearbook! Check out the 2016 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. Thank you!

We need your help to reach our goal!

pcg-logo-fb-profileWith just two days left before the PFD application deadline, Doyon Foundation is still short of our $5,000 Pick. Click. Give. fundraising goal. As of the last report, we were just over halfway, with pledges of $2,625.

The Pick. Click. Give. program is an important part of the Foundation’s scholarship fundraising efforts. However, Pick. Click. Give. contributions have been down significantly this year for nonprofits across the state.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Please also consider inviting your family, friends and colleagues to Pick. Click. Give. to Doyon Foundation by sending an email or posting on your social media pages.

Remember – donations of any amount are welcomed. Every little bit moves us toward our goal!

Want to see the difference your Pick. Click. Give. donations can make? Check out these real student stories:

On behalf of the Foundation and the students we serve, thank you for your support!

The Doyon Foundation board of directors grew from seven to nine members, following a vote at its annual membership meeting. The Foundation is pleased to welcome two new board members: LaVerne Demientieff and Marie Monroe. Incumbents Lanien Livingston and Sonta Roach were re-elected at the meeting.

LaVerne Bio PicLaVerne, who was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) with her bachelor’s in social work and went on to receive her master’s in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. She is currently working toward a PhD in social work from the University of Utah, College of Social Work. LaVerne also works as a clinical associate professor for UAF’s bachelor’s of social work program, and is a licensed master social worker through the State of Alaska. A former Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient, LaVerne stated that the scholarship was so needed and helpful for many years. She is happy to be able to serve on the Doyon Foundation board to give back to the organization and her community.

Marie Monroe 2Marie Irwin Monroe, of Nenana, Alaska, graduated from Nenana High School in 1970, and owned and operated her own transportation business from 1975 to 2000. From 1996 to present, she has been general manager of the Kantishna Roadhouse/Doyon Tourism. Marie, who has several family members who received scholarships from Doyon Foundation, says, “I am excited about the language revitalization work the Foundation has embarked upon, and I look forward to contributing to this and all of the other educational programs and opportunities the Foundation brings to our community.”

The board also held an officer election at the board meeting earlier this month. The officers remain the same, with Lanien Livingston serving as president, Paul Mountain as vice president, and Julie Anderson as secretary treasurer.

Other board members include Victor Nicholas, Helena Jacobs, Joshua Peter and Sonta Roach.

For more information, including full board member bios, visit www.doyonfoundation.com.

Candidates sought for scholarship review committee

scholarship-recipients-group-photo

Help us connect students with scholarships – apply to serve on our competitive scholarship review committee!

Would you like to help connect students with scholarships? We have the perfect opportunity! We currently have three open seats on the Doyon Foundation competitive scholarship review committee. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply by Friday, April 28.

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.

Candidates residing in rural areas are preferred, but applications from urban candidates are also welcomed. Please note that per IRS regulations, committee members cannot be employees of the Doyon Family of Companies or Doyon Foundation.

Service on the scholarship review committee is on a voluntary basis. Individuals interested in giving back and helping students achieve their full potential are encouraged to consider serving on this important committee.

Interested candidates should submit a résumé and a letter of interest outlining why they’d like to serve to Doris Miller, Foundation executive director, at millerd@doyon.com by Friday, April 28. 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.

df-pcg-meme-for-facebookFebruary 15 marked the midway point for this year’s Pick. Click. Give. campaign – and yet Doyon Foundation was nowhere near the halfway point of our Pick. Click. Give. fundraising goal.

As of February 15, 28 donors had pledged $1,625 to Doyon Foundation, leaving a $3,375 gap between pledges and our $5,000 fundraising goal.

We are asking all Alaskans to consider helping us get to our $5,000 Pick. Click. Give. goal.

“Your Pick. Click. Give. donations go directly to support the Foundation’s general scholarship fund, which helps offset the high cost of tuition and books for both full-time and part-time college students,” says Doris Miller, executive director of Doyon Foundation.

Pick. Click. Give. donations are down significantly from last year, negatively impacting nonprofits statewide. Less than 5 percent of Alaskans are choosing to Pick. Click. Give. when they complete their PFD applications.

Last year, 70 donors contributed $5,375 to Doyon Foundation through Pick. Click. Give. This year, we just hope to reach the $5,000 mark.

“We know it is a tough year for a lot of Alaskans,” Doris acknowledges. “At the same time, we need to continue supporting the efforts of students who are going to school with the goal of getting an education and improving the quality of life for themselves, their families and their communities. Because in the end, that benefits us all.”

Alaskans are encouraged to Pick. Click. Give. to Doyon Foundation when completing their 2017 PFD application. The deadline to submit a 2017 PFD application is Friday, March 31.

Those who have already submitted a PFD application can easily add a Pick. Click. Give. contribution by logging back into their application at pfd.alaska.gov. Step-by-step instructions for making a Pick. Click. Give. donation are available here.

Donations of any amount are welcomed. “Every little bit moves us toward our goal,” Doris says.

 

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