Language Revitalization


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.

 

Foundation to Award $64,000 to Nine Organizations 

 

Doyon Foundation has selected nine organizations to receive Our Language grants totaling $64,000 this year. Recipients include:

  • Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) – Indigenous Language Institute Annual Symposium in October 2018. With this grant support, ANHC will send its language project director and two language project instructors to the annual symposium, allowing project staff to learn directly from organizations and individuals running language revitalization programs across the U.S.

 

  • KRFF – Athabascan Fiddlers Association, Inc. (AFA) Word of the Day and Phrase of the Day Language Project through December 2018. AFA plans to edit KRFF 89.1 FM’s existing “Word of the Day” and “Phrase of the Day” electronic files and broadcast them out to KRFF’s listening audience in the interior of Alaska and beyond.

 

  • Native Village of Eagle – Revitalization of Hän Language Project through fall 2019. Through this project, the village will provide a forum for fluent Hän Hwëch’in speakers to become teachers. By the end of summer 2018, the goal is to have at least two fluent speakers living in the village providing language lessons to others in the community. By the end of the year, the project seeks to have audio lessons available to those outside the village.

 

  • Native Village of Fort Yukon – Youth and Cultural Language Program through October 2018. Community youth have their own council and have planned year-round cultural activities, which will have Gwich’in language immersed throughout. CDs will also be produced for local radio and presentations on the language skills and cultural knowledge learned through the activities.

 

  • Native Village of Tetlin – Enhancing Culture Camp with Language Sessions in June 2018. During the culture camp, participants will be exposed to language materials and learn basic Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) Tetlin dialect expressions.

 

  • Nikolai Village – Nikolai Culture/Language Camp in August 2018. In partnership with the Iditarod Area School District – Top of the Kuskokwim School and Telida Village Council, Nikolai Village will offer a culture and language camp with a focus on preserving the Upper Kuskokwim language and igniting a spark in the younger generation.

 

  • Tanacross – Language and Culture Classes through September 2018. The effort will include recording culture and language, offering regular culture and language meetings, and documenting Native culture, including stories and language, with an overall goal of having youth speak the language.

 

  • Tanana Tribal Council – Tanana Cooperative Community Language Preservation and Revitalization Project through September 2018. This project will continue and expand work started in 2017 by creating video recordings of Elders, developing and piloting lesson plans, encouraging multi-generational learning, and building on previous Where Are Your Keys workshops.

 

  • Yukon Flats School District – Honoring the Past, Building for the Future Through Gwich’in Language through September 2018. In collaboration with the Council of Athabascan Tribal Government, the project will promote language revitalization through professional development of current Gwich’in language and culture teachers.

The goal of the Our Language grant program is to support efforts to revitalize the endangered languages of the Doyon region, which include Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana), Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Deg Xinag, Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga (Lower Tanana), Holikachuk, and Inupiaq.

Doyon, Limited originally established the language grant program in 2012. The Foundation’s language revitalization program now administers the grants, which are available to Doyon region tribal governments/tribal councils/communities; nonprofit Alaska Native organizations, societies and community groups; and Alaska Native cultural, educational and recreational organizations/centers.

For more information, visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

 

P1100070

Here is your June Native Word of the Month in Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in)! Hai’ (thank you) to our translator, Allan Hayton.

June = Vanan Ch’iighoo

Naagaii = Beads

Nahan łyaa naagaii haa gwiinzii k’eech’aahkaii. = Your mom sews beads really well.

Listen to an audio recording of the translation:

39_DLO_SeekingApplications Promotion_blog2

Doyon Foundation is pleased to announce a call for linguistics consultants and content creators for the Doyon Languages Online project. Interested applicants are encouraged to review the RFQs (request for qualifications) posted below and apply by Friday, June 15, 2018.

View linguistic consultant RFQ

View content creator RFQ

View application

The selected linguistics consultants and content creators will work with the Doyon Languages Online project to create 224 introductory online lessons for four of the endangered Doyon region languages: Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana), Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Deg Xinag and Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim).

Doyon Foundation received a three-year, $977,423 grant last fall from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program for this work, which builds on the progress of the existing Doyon Languages Online project.

Doyon Languages Online is currently in the process of developing online language-learning lessons for five of the Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in).

With the new funding, the Foundation is able to produce online learning opportunities for nine of the 10 indigenous languages of the Doyon region, in partnership with 7000Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning partially through software donated by Transparent Language Online.

For more information on the project scope, background, qualifications and selection process, please see the linguistic consultant RFQ and content creator RFQ. To apply, view and complete the application by June 15.

For additional information on Doyon Foundation or the Doyon Languages Online project, visit doyonfoundation.com or contact Allan Hayton at haytona@doyon.com or 907.459.2162.

 

38_DF_DLO Language Gathering Promotion_blog2

Join Doyon Foundation for the Nee’andeg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana) Language Gathering, to be held June 5 – 7, 2018 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks – Tok Campus from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily.

The three-day language workshop will focus on the Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana) languages. This free, all-ages gathering is open to anyone who wants to learn or improve their skills in these languages. 

Instructors Irene Arnold and Cheryl Silas will introduce learners to essentials of Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). Topics will include basic literacy, conversation and listening, and introduce the Doyon Languages Online project. 

There is no cost to attend, but participants should register in advance at doyonfoundation.com.

For more information, contact Allan Hayton at haytona@doyon.com or 907.459.2162. 

Doyon Languages Online is funded by Doyon Foundation and the Alaska Native Education Equity Program, U.S. Department of Education. 

Diloola Erickson a1Doyon Foundation welcomes former student and intern Diloola Erickson as our new Doyon Languages Online II project manager!

“We are thrilled to have Diloola join our team and lead this new project. This is a beautiful example of ‘growing our own’ to serve important leadership roles in our region,” says Doris Miller, Foundation executive director. “Diloola brings energy, experience and passion for language revitalization, and we are excited to see how she helps grow this project.”

While the job is new to Diloola, she is not new to the Foundation. She is a previous Foundation scholarship recipient who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks this spring with bachelor’s degrees in rural development and mechanical engineering.

Diloola also served as a First Alaskans Institute summer intern at the Foundation last year, developing multimedia materials promoting language revitalization in the Doyon region and helping to lead a language workshop at the 2017 First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference. Read more about Diloola in her language champion profile on the Foundation blog.

“I’m beyond thrilled to get to work with such a dynamic team at Doyon Foundation, and I’m honored to get to work on this project with our Athabascan languages,” Diloola says. “It feels really good to be able to step into a position where I can contribute to an organization that has helped me so much throughout my undergraduate studies.”

The Doyon Languages Online II project is funded by a three-year, $977,423 grant from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program. The project focuses on the languages Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana), Deg Xinag and Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim). It will create more than 220 online language-learning lessons, train teachers in the use of the technology, and field test lessons with students.

This project builds on the progress of the existing Doyon Languages Online project, which is already developing online language-learning for Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in). Through these two projects, the Foundation will produce online learning for nine of the 10 Doyon region languages.

For more information on Doyon Languages Online visit the Foundation website, www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo.

 

Here is the most recent Alaska Native Language Revitalization Digest with a new Upcoming Events Calendar.

Alaska Language Revitalization Digest 5.8.18.pdf

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