Learning Opportunities


Alaska Native students from all around Alaska are now able to attend the state’s only tribal college tuition-free.

“We looked at some of the obstacles that students — especially those in rural Alaska — have in going to college and money was one of them,” said Janelle Everett, Iḷisaġvik College’s director of recruitment. “The North Slope is fortunate in that there is wealth here, but that wealth is not necessarily in other parts of the state. People may not have the finances to attend college.”

Iḷisaġvik recently announced that starting next semester, Native students who are over the age of 18 will be able to apply for a tuition waiver to attend both distance learning and campus-based classes.

Read more here.

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Native American Heritage Month Series

Here are this week’s events! We hope to see you there!

Wood Carving Workshop – Tuesday from 5:30-7:00pm

Watch Da-ka-xeen Mehner demonstrate wood carving and listen to him discuss the cultural history of his style.

Koyukon Language Circle – Friday from 2-3:00pm

Led by Dewey Hoffman, join us for an afternoon of Koyukon language!

Positive Connection Night: Potluck-Style Family Dinner – Friday from 5-7:00pm

Join us for a potluck-style family dinner! Bring a dish, grab some food, sit down, relax, and enjoy everyone’s company. Stuffed moose heart and soup will definitely be there.

All events are free and will be in the Brooks Gathering Room.

If you have any questions, please contact Brianna Pauling at bpaulin1@alaska.edu.

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Rural Student Services

Fall 2017 Office Hours:
Monday through Friday – 8:00am-5:00pm

If you need to schedule an appointment with an advisor, please call (907) 474-7871 (locally) or (888) 478-1452 (toll free within Alaska).

You can also schedule online at:

http://www.uaf.edu/ruralss/advising-appointments/

Office location: Second Floor Brooks Buildling

Email: uaf-rss

Website: www.uaf.edu/ruralss/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/uafrss/

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Contact
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Rural Student Services
PO Box 756320, Fairbanks, AK 99775
(888) 478-1452
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“Student success is achieved with the help of family, a group of persons of common ancestry. At Rural Student Services, I feel at home.”

– Karly Gundersen, Port Lions

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Mission

The Northern Alaska Indigenous Leadership Academy (NAILA) will help to address Alaska Native community-based wellness and sustainable development through investment in transformative training of local leaders.


Core Partners

NAILA will be administratively housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) College of Rural and Community Development and led through a partnership with Ilisagvik College in Barrow and the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development at UAF.


Approach

NAILA endeavors to build an integrated learning and career development community that explores qualities of Indigenous knowledge and leadership, increases knowledge of healing and wellness, draws insight and wisdom from elders and experienced leaders, and builds a foundation for community sustainability. Indigenous values and educational methodologies will be central to the Academy program and curriculum.


Goal

NAILA will engage a new generation of Alaska Native leaders and provide them with leadership skills to promote community development from within. Participants will become part of a peer network that will continue to foster organic dialogue, partnership, and initiatives, as well as connect them with future opportunities to advance their skills and education.

Click HERE for more information or to apply.

The Inspire Leadership Academy is excited to announce an Academy in Anchorage! The dates for the academy will be:

October 13, 14, 15
December 1, 2, 3
January 19, 20, 21
March 9, 10, 11
April 27, 28, 29

The cost is $2,700 and they are looking for 20 participants to fill the seats in order to be able to conduct the academy. You can find more information on the academy and registration information at www.inspireleadershipacademy.com or call Tracy Snow, Owner and lead facilitator, at (907) 322-9644 if you have questions.

Supported by Doyon Foundation, Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh (“Our Language Nest”) is an immersion program that teaches children to become fluent speakers of Gwich’in while helping preserve one of the world’s most threatened Indigenous languages.

Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh meets Saturdays at various sites in and around Fairbanks so that parents and children may speak Gwich’in, sing songs, share lessons and create learning activities. Virtually all activities are in Gwich’in, and the activity is free of charge.

“The group is open to everyone, but especially parents with young children,” says Allan Hayton, the Foundation’s language revitalization program director. “The goal is to teach Gwich’in to children by talking to them in the language.”

Gatherings typically attract a half-dozen or so parents and as many as 10 children. There is no fee to attend and parents also rely on the group to learn Gwich’in.

A “no-English” policy is typical of language nest immersion programs in Alaska and throughout the world. Adopting the metaphor of a nest as a safe place to learn, Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh is an early childhood education project that brings together Elders who are fluent speakers and parents and children, who typically speak English only.

Hayton began working with parents in 2015 to start Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh; today he’s among the group’s leaders, which includes parents and other community members. Partners include University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Rural Student Services and Denakkanaaga, the Fairbanks-based nonprofit organization for Native Elders. Over the years, the group has met outdoors, at parents’ homes, at Denakkanaaga and the UAF campus.

“No two Language Nest meetings are the same,” says Charlene Stern, a mother who has been involved since the group’s very first meeting. By the time her son was born, Charlene says she realized she wanted him to hear Gwich’in daily, at home. Charlene’s first language is English; her mother and siblings are fluent Gwich’in speakers.

Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh differs from teaching that introduces vocabulary in a new language by having students memorize isolated words or phrases. Some meetings involve getting together to share a meal and practice Gwich’in table phrases. Other gatherings focus on games and songs or venturing outdoors. This in-context approach teaches Gwich’in by offering everyday, appealing situations that “feed” the language into ears of young children. Two primary teachers who are fluent speakers are on hand at Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh gatherings. Parents who are second-language learners also are welcome to lead activities and lessons.

Worldwide language nest projects trace their start to 1982 and successful efforts to revive the Maori language in New Zealand. In Alaska, the nine ancestral languages of the Doyon region were the first languages spoken by the people as recently as 100 years ago. Revitalization programs like Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh can add to the number of fluent speakers and lessen the risk that the language will be lost.

“For me, one of the most important things about the Language Nest is that it creates a space where our children positively engage with our culture and language,” Charlene says. Alaska Native children typically are a minority in urban public schools, and she says Native children often experience discrimination that fosters feelings of inferiority. “Language Nest helps equip our children with stronger identities so that they become more resilient individuals and tribal members.”

Language nests such as Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh adhere to evidence-based strategies in early childhood education. For instance, research shows that up to about age 7, children acquire a second language – or third or fourth – as naturally as they learn a first language.

Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh is one of several Foundation-supported programs to revitalize Indigenous languages in the Doyon region. Efforts include the Native Word of the Month and Doyon Languages Online, the grant-funded project that is developing online lessons for five of the Doyon languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e, Benhti Kenaga’, Hän and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa. Plans eventually call for online lessons in all Doyon region languages.

Charlene is among the Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh parents from families who encouraged English as a step to success in the Western world. “Today we know that speaking more than one language carries many benefits,” she says. “And we know that culture and language revitalization is critical to personal identity and collective well-being.”

She’s looking forward to a time when more families take part in Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh or similar community-driven efforts.

“We participate because it’s something that’s important to us, our children, and generations yet to come,” she says. “We can’t look to organizations, school districts or government grants to singlehandedly revitalize the Gwich’in language. I believe it’s up to us.”

For more information on Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’at’oh and how to get involved in the Language Nest, please contact Allan Hayton at 907.459.2162 or haytona@doyon.com.

Last call!
Date – August 11-13, 2017
Location – Camp Bingle on Harding Lake

  • Airfare for Yukon Koyukuk School District Students & meals are included
  • Overnight at camp Friday – Sunday
  • Open to youth entering grades 8-12

For more information contact Andrea Durny at adurny@yksd.com or (907) 374-9424.

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See below for our August Native word of the month in Gwich’in!

Zhehk’aa – Family
Shizhehk’aa naii gwiintł’oo goovihtsai’. – I cherish my family very much.

Listen to an audio recording.

August

Hai’ (thank you) to Allan Hayton for providing this month’s translation.

Have a translation in another language? Share it with us on Facebook!

Each month, a new Native word or phrase and definition will be shared on our website, as well as on our blog and Facebook page, along with an audio recording of the pronunciation.

Have an idea for a Native Word of the Month? Please email your idea to haytona@doyon.com.

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