Winter cabin by Jacob Yule

Photo courtesy of Jacob Yule

We are pleased to share our October 2019 Native words of the month in Denaakk’e. This month, we feature a short conversation between two sisters: Beverly Kokrine and Susan Paskvan.

Beverly: Sodaa, do’eent’aa? (My older sister, how are you?)

Susan: Sedaats, eszoonh. (My younger sister, I’m fine.)

Beverly: Hedoneehoyh. (Come inside.)

Susan: Baasee’ sedaadzaa. (Thank you my younger sister.)

For more translations, view our Native word of the month archives on the Foundation website.

We also invite you to access free online language-learning lessons by signing up for Doyon Languages Online! We currently have lessons available for HolikachukDenaakk’eBenhti Kenaga’ and Gwich’in, as well as a special set of Hän lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby. All interested learners may sign up and access the courses at no charge – sign up today!

Language learners from the communities of Rampart and Tanana came together for a five-day Denaakk’e workshop at the Rampart Community Hall July 11 – 15, 2016. The goal of the workshop, which was funded in part by an Our Language grant from Doyon Foundation, was for learners to be able to introduce themselves in Denaakk’e. Participants also learned common greetings and traditional place names. Each learner made a book of nouns and book of verbs in order to use the content in different combinations to create new and complete sentences.

Patty Elias, Faith Peters and Helen Peters traveled from Tanana to Rampart, joining Mary Ann Wiehl, Paul Evans, Jr., Brittany Woods-Orrison, Brook Wright, Frank Yaska, Liyana Woods, Ariyah Woods, Darian Woods, Ian Woods, Tristan Woods, David Wiehl, Jr., Janet Woods, Jennifer Wiehl, Sandy Cummings, Georgianna Lincoln, Toni Mallot, Joni Newman, Natalie Newman, Dee Wiehl, Fayleen Peters and Yavonne Woods, and the most important person of all, Rosemary Wiehl, who was hired as the cook for the week. In all, 25 people participated throughout the week.

Participants learned introductions, kinship terms, common expressions, verb conjugations, family trees, and traditional place names. A song was also created for Tanana Chiefs Conference Tobacco Prevention Program. The song will be featured in a play written by Frank Yaska, which will be touring six villages this school year.

During the workshop, Elder and teacher Helen Peters worked with everyone on how to make the sounds needed to speak correctly. A big highlight was a 4-year-old participant introducing herself, who her parents are, and that she lives in Rampart.

The workshop culminated in a community gathering where everyone enjoyed a meal of moose soup, king salmon, salads, fry bread and cake. The group held an overview of the week and selected what was to be incorporated in interactive books. They also developed a language plan to be used in the school this year, and have plans to meet monthly and practice their language to continue this revitalization effort.

For more information on the Our Language grants or Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact Allan Hayton at haytona@doyon.com or 907.459.2162.

Are you interested in learning the Koyukon Athabascan language? If so, consider signing up for the Denaakk’e Immersion Camp, which will be held Sunday, August 4 to Friday, August 9, 2013 at the Alaska Native Heritage Center’s Athabascan House. Anyone interested in learning Denaakk’e are welcome. There is no limit on age or speaking ability. Learn more at http://ayatlin.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/denaakke-immersion-camp/.