Language Revitalization


Apr2

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

April = Ch’ikee Zhrii

Shih = Food

Deetrya’ shih eenjit ch’oodiikwat. Khan, shih lat vach’ąh’aa. = Raven is begging for food. Hurry, feed him a little food.

Listen to an audio recording of the translation:

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.

 

 

“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.

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

March = Ch’izhin Zhrii

K’eegiidal = They arrived

Tanan hee dinjii leii naii k’eegiidal. = Many people have arrived in Fairbanks.

Listen to an audio recording of the translation: 

 

Division of Elections Language Summit

The Division of elections is proud to host its first ever Language Summit. The Summit will take place in Anchorage on March 19 and 20, 2018. The goals of the Summit are:

  • Inform, educate, provide language assistance training
  • Strengthen relationships with Alaska Native organizations and communities
  • Nurture collaboration and understanding
  • Prepare and strengthen bilingual workers’ skills so Alaska may succeed in 2018 election cycle
  • Receive input from attendees
  • Enhance Best Practices

The Language Summit is an opportunity to learn about the Voting Rights mandates and what they mean for Alaska. It is also an opportunity to learn about the different efforts across the state to preserve and revitalize Alaska Native languages. This is a great opportunity for everyone to connect with one another and find ways to collaborate. Division staff will also provide information on the nuts and bolts of the election process and how you can be a part of the election cycle.

Please sign up soon as space is limited. For more information contact Indra Arriaga, indra.arriaga@alaska.gov, 907.952.1959

This Thursday and Friday, March 1 and 2, 11 a.m.

DF_17_GrantApplicationDeadline Promotion_blogPlanning to submit a proposal for an Our Language grant? Want some tips for developing your proposal? Have questions about the application or granting process? Need to brainstorm ideas for your project?

If so, then join Doyon Foundation for an Our Language grant teleconference this Thursday and Friday, March 1 and 2, at 11 a.m.! To participate, simply call 1.800.315.6338 and use the PIN 556677.

Not able to attend the teleconference? You’re welcome to call anytime with questions – contact Allan Hayton, language revitalization program director at 907.459.2162 or haytona@doyon.com.

Through the Our Language grant program, the Foundation will award grants of up to $8,000 to fund language revitalization projects. 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.

Our Language grant proposals are due no later than Monday, March 5, 2018, at 5 p.m. Learn more on our blog or access the application packet here.

 

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

February = Veegwaadhat

Shidrii = My heart

Shidrii zhit gwiintł’oo shoo ihłii. = My heart is very happy.

Listen to an audio recording of the translation: 

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