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Jarynn’s parents are Lucille Stickman and the late John Cunningham II. Her maternal grandparents are the late Jessie Stickman and the late Donald Stickman; her paternal grandparents are Betty Cunningham and the late John Cunningham. Jarynn’s hometown is Palmer.

JarynnJarynn is a May 2017 graduate of Minnesota-based Century College, where she earned an associate’s degree in computer science. Her plans include enrolling in the fall in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

She says that being awarded a Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship through Doyon Foundation demonstrated that the Foundation is as supportive as family when it comes to seeing college students succeed: “The Foundation gave me the opportunity to fully invest my time into my education. I am very thankful.”

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Jarynn who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic held in June is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

Jarynn’s long-term plans include completing her bachelor’s degree in two years and then working in software development. She advises others to maintain perspective when it comes to potential setbacks on the way to earning a college degree.

“Our education journeys may seem daunting at first. But all our efforts will pay off in the long run. We’ll become a better version of ourselves,” she says.

Among her biggest challenges: Recognizing when it’s time to ask for emotional or academic support.

“I’ve learned that struggling is nothing to be ashamed of,” Jarynn says. “It’s OK to reach out for help. Balancing your priorities – school, work, family, health – is the key to being successful.”

teaSee below for our June Native word of the month in Gwich’in!

Lidii = Tea
Ko’ kat lidii tr’ahtsii łyaa akaii. = The tea we make on the fire sure tastes good.

Listen to an audio recording. Hai’ (thank you) to Allan Hayton for providing the 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.

 

Doyon Foundation is pleased to announce the 2017 Our Language grant awardees. After careful consideration, the selection committee chose eight proposals from among an impressive round of 19 applicant organizations. The awarded projects include community language classes, language app development, language learning through song and dance, curriculum development and summer camp activities.

“The 2017 Our Language grant awardees are an outstanding group dedicated to ensuring the ancestral languages of the Doyon region continue on for future generations,” says Allan Hayton, director of the Foundation’s language revitalization program.

2017 Our Language Awardees

Chalkyitsik: A project to revitalize the Draanjik Gwich’in language. The Chalkyitsik tribe seeks to add to and enhance language teaching in the school by creating language learning opportunities in the community. The project will compile lessons into book form for current and future learners.

Circle: This curriculum development and language teaching project, “Diiginjik Tr’oonta’, Holding On To Our Language,” will be a collaboration of the Circle Tribal Council, Danzhit Hanlaii Corporation, the community and Circle School. Instructor Mary Groat, assisted by Margaret Henry-John and Audrey Fields, will seek to “encourage youth to embrace, love, learn and take pride in their beautiful traditional language.” The project will offer classes throughout the summer in different locations around the community.

Grayling: This project will utilize traditional songs and dance to practice and learn the Holikachuk language. Language teachers will also teach in the classroom. The project will have two gatherings to bring Elders together and share the dances the community has learned.

Nenana: The Summer Youth Fish Camp is an annual program to connect young people with Athabascan culture and language. The Lower Tanana language is the most endangered of all the Doyon region languages, and this program is essential to instilling in younger generations the knowledge and traditions of the ancestors. This program is part of a larger community plan to address the challenges of language and culture loss.

Northway: A proposal to build a language app for the Née’aaneegn language of Northway to both preserve and teach the language. This project will be using technology developed by Native Innovation, a company based in Arizona. The app allows users to search for words in Née’aaneegn and provides the English translation, or vice-versa. It is an open source technology that will allow continued entries for no additional cost.

Ruby: This project will consolidate past language efforts and develop materials to be used by young learners. The project will begin by identifying and learning 30 essential words and phrases. They will then hold a weekly meeting to go over what they have learned, and then identify an additional 30 new words and phrases. These words and phrases will be recorded, and developed into flash cards and other materials for learners.

Tanana: This project will create video recordings of Elders speaking conversational Denaakk’e, as well as documenting traditional food gathering, medicinal plant use, and cultural activities. These videos will be used to develop pilot lesson plans for use in classrooms. The project aims to generate enthusiasm and impetus for continued language use in the school and community.

“All of these projects together embody the great hope we have for our languages, and how the languages can contribute to the success and wellbeing of our communities,” Allan shares. “It was a difficult task for the selection committee to narrow down their selections to this group of eight awardees. We thank everyone for applying, and we hope communities will submit their proposals to multiple funding organizations.”

Specifically, Doyon Foundation recognizes Arctic Village, Anvik, Dena’ Cultural Heritage Education Institute, Eagle, Hughes, Koyukuk, McGrath, Nikolai, Telida, and Tetlin, for their commitment to language revitalization.

About the Our Language Awards
The 10 ancestral languages of the Doyon region are all severely to critically endangered, and the Our Language grant program was developed to support the revitalization of these languages. Doyon, Limited originally established the language grant program in 2012. The Foundation’s language revitalization program now administers the grant program.

About the Language Revitalization Program

Due to the rapidly decreasing health of creative and fluent Native language speakers, the Native languages within the Doyon region are not being passed on quickly enough to ensure their survival. There is an urgent need to promote and foster language opportunities for non-speakers.

In 2009, Doyon Foundation created the language revitalization committee to respond to this need, and began creating a region-wide language revitalization program that would address one of the Foundation’s vision elements for a “Strong Demonstration of Native Traditional Language and Culture.”

In 2012, the Doyon, Limited board of directors, along with full support from Doyon President Aaron Schutt, agreed with the language revitalization committee and awarded start-up funding to establish the language revitalization program.

For more information about the grants or the program, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com, or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

Emily’s mother is Janice Joseph of Rampart; her grandmother is Jenny Joseph of Rampart and her grandfather is Arthur Joseph of Tanana. Emily’s father is Mark Sexton; her grandmother is Beverly Sexton and her grandfather is Bill Sexton, all from Fairbanks. Emily’s hometown is Fairbanks.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset“The biggest challenge I faced during my education has been distance from home,” says Emily, a Marquette University student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “Getting over homesickness has been essential.”

Emily has had a Doyon Foundation scholarship in each semester. “Especially for a student attending college so far from Alaska, these generous scholarships truly help decrease the high cost of education,” says Emily, a current Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship recipient.

Named for the late president and chief executive of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Competitive Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 over the years to students like Emily who share his commitment to excellence, leadership and integrity. The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic held in June is the Foundation’s largest fundraiser to benefit these scholarships.

Emily’s goals include graduating in 2018 with degrees in accounting and political science before going on to become a certified public accountant and attending law school. She’s interning this summer at a Milwaukee investment company.

During the school year, Emily is involved in the Native American Student Association. She also volunteers as a reading tutor with the First Nations Studies Program in Milwaukee public schools. “It’s been rewarding,” she says. “Most of these students are first-generation college students like me, so I brought them on a tour of my campus. It was the first time many of them had been on a college campus or talked about attending.”

Her advice to students: Apply for scholarships, get involved early in student groups and make time to volunteer. “It’s been an incredible experience to serve as a mentor,” she says.

 

Doyon Foundation and Doyon, Limited as well as family, friends and other supporters gathered to celebrate the class of 2017 at our annual graduate reception on May 5 in Fairbanks.

The event honored the 69 Doyon Foundation students who graduated or are graduating this year. Included in the total were 26 high school students, 38 certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree students, five master’s degree students, and two Ph.D. candidates.

The event commenced with an opening prayer led by Allan Hayton, our language revitalization program director. Executive Director Doris Miller gave the welcome before turning the stage over to Kathleen Meckel Hildebrand, who gave the alumna keynote address. Kathleen holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Holy Names College, as well as a master’s degree in education from Western Oregon University.

Guests then heard from 2017 graduate speaker, Esther Frykman, who recently graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with an associate’s degree in nursing. Excerpts from Kathleen and Esther’s speeches are available on the Foundation’s YouTube channel.

Before the event concluded, all graduates in attendance had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the audience.

In total, approximately 40 people attended the event to celebrate the 2017 graduates. Be sure to check out the fun event photos on our Facebook page.

We will soon distribute our popular graduate yearbook featuring photos and short bios on each of our 2017 graduates. If you are interested in receiving the electronic yearbook, please sign up to receive our e-newsletter or subscribe to our blog.

For more information on Doyon Foundation and the ways we work to support students, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com, call 907.459.2048 or email foundation@doyon.com.

 

Language speakers, teachers, learners and anyone else interested in revitalizing the lIMG_1063anguages of the Doyon region are invited to the Deg Xinag and Holikachuk Language Gathering, hosted by Doyon Foundation in Holy Cross on Sunday and Monday, June 4 and 5.

The gathering will begin with dinner at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 4. A meeting will take place 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Monday, June 5. Both events will be held at the Holy Cross School, and are free of charge.

IMG_1151The event will bring together Elders, speakers, teachers, learners and other stakeholders to create momentum for current and future language revitalization initiatives.

The goal of the gathering is to create a call to action, develop practical steps toward long-range goals, and share inspiration and hope around language revitalization.

The event is sponsored by Doyon Foundation with support from the Administration for Native Americans.

To RSVP for the gathering, or for more information on the event or the language revitalization program, contact Allan Hayton at 907-459-2162 or haytona@doyon.com.

Deadline extended to Wednesday, May 24

Doyon Foundation is still seeking candidates for our competitive scholarship review committee. We have extended the deadline for interested candidates to apply until Wednesday, May 24.

This is a very important committee that plays a critical role in connecting students with scholarships, and we encourage all eligible individuals to apply. 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 Wednesday, May 24.

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

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