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.

 

Born and raised in Fairbanks, Julian Thibedeau is a student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He’ll earn a certificate in rural human services in 2019 and begin his associate’s degree in the Tribal Management Program at UAF in the fall of 2018. Julian’s mother is the late Ruth Maxine Thibedeau; his grandparents are the late Richard “Shorty” Thibedeau of Stone Lake, Wisconsin, and the late Ruth Lillian Mayo of Rampart. 

Julian, 29, is a full-time maintenance technician at Doyon, Limited. He received a Morris Thompson scholarship for the 2017 – 2018 school year.

JulianDoyon Foundation: Julian, you were away from school from several years before earning a Doyon Foundation scholarship and pursuing your degree. What prompted you to go back to school?

Julian: It had been 10 or 12 years since I’d been to school. College was really foreign to me. I’d say to myself, “Man, what I am even doing here?” It was as if I was in strange territory!

I’d just put my best foot forward, give it my all and not be afraid to ask questions. I’d like to thank my professors and classmates who really helped introduce me to college. It took dedication and perseverance to see it through.

Doyon Foundation: And Doyon Foundation scholarships helped hold you accountable?

Julian: I wanted to keep earning that scholarship to complete my degree and of course I’d have to keep my grades up. The scholarship kind of helped keep me in check because I knew my funding depended on my grades.

I’d like to say thank you to Doyon Foundation. I don’t think it would have been possible to go to school worry free and stress free otherwise.

Doyon Foundation: How did you manage tough courses? Everyone faces them eventually.

Julian: Courses with a lot of writing and research were a challenge. Classes in library science, introduction to databases and resources – these require being able to cite information and I wasn’t familiar with that. My strategy was to just do the assignments. Even if I knew they weren’t 100 percent right, I’d just give it my best effort. I had really helpful professors.

Doyon Foundation: You’re looking forward to finishing the semester and starting an internship with First Alaskans.

Julian: My internship starts June 10 with an orientation week in Anchorage, then an assignment in Fairbanks for the summer. I’d like to intern in behavioral health or community outreach.

I’ll also go fishing during the summer at Rampart with my daughter, Adriel. She’ll be 7 and I want her to have a connection with the land. I think there’s a lot of healing within traditional knowledge, learning from Elders, knowing who you are and where you come from.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve said that Adriel inspires you. How do you mean?

Julian: My daughter is on my mind because I’d like to see the advancement of Alaska Native people, not just my generation but generations to come. In the long-term, I’d like to mentor at-risk youth and those who fall through the cracks. My sobriety and recovery make me want to give back to the community that I used to take away from.

I’m Athabascan, and I drum and sing Athabascan songs. I’d like to go across the country, parts of the United States and Canada, and learn more songs.

Doyon Foundation: Giving back is something you’re committed to.

Julian: Yes. In my free time, I speak at the Fairbanks Native Association’s Youth Treatment Center. I come from that background. Sometimes the youth need people to talk to who know what it’s like to be in treatment.

I’ve also organized a volunteer street cleanup every year for the past three years in downtown Fairbanks and the neighborhood south of downtown. I chose those places because they get overlooked.

I went to the mayor and said that if I got the litter bags and the bags were filled up, would public works pick up all those yellow bags. The answer was yes. It was just another way for me to give back.

Doyon Foundation: Any advice for students who identify with your experiences?

Julian: We all have that inner voice that says you can’t do it, that you’re not worthy. For instance, accepting scholarships and grants felt to me at first as if I was taking a handout. I had to suck up my pride, but then I realized that these things were an opportunity – and not only an opportunity but an obligation to your people, to your tribe, and to yourself.

My advice is simple: Believe in yourself!

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students earn college degrees. 

The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

Doyon Foundation student Shawna Hildebrand attends the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), where she’s earning a master’s degree in public administration with an emphasis in rural development. Her parents are Edith and Darell Hildebrand of Nulato. Shawna’s maternal grandparents are the late Eleanor and Hughey Kriska of Koyukuk, and her paternal grandparents are Edith and Victor Nicholas of Nulato.

When she’s not in school, Shawna enjoys fishing and processing fish, among other cultural activities. Her hometown is Nulato. Shawna graduates in December 2018.

Shawna Hildenbrand
Doyon Foundation:
Keeping up with your courses became a significant obstacle this year. Can you say more about that?

Shawna Hildebrand: The biggest challenge this year has been the ability to do school work. I know that sounds bad, but during the fall semester I had surgery on my elbow, making it impossible to type for about two months. Even with a cast on.

I’m especially thankful for my professors – who were understanding of my grammatical mistakes – and assistive technology that permitted me to get all my homework done while I was healing. I definitely came to appreciate Doyon Foundation scholarships that allowed me to obtain the technology I needed to do my schoolwork and take part in class.

Doyon Foundation: That willingness to persevere sounds a lot like your advice to other students.

Shawna: The most important thing is to remember that you can do anything you set your mind to. That’s such a cliché, but it’s true.

Take the time to do your schoolwork and find a schedule that works for you. Don’t take your professors for granted either; they’re there to help you succeed and will work with you on assignments you are having difficulty with. The biggest thing is you need to be sure you’re going to school for something you love.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve experienced that first-hand.

Shawna: I put off deciding on a master’s program for five years because I couldn’t commit entirely to a master’s in counseling. I spent time looking at various degree programs and ultimately decided on the Master of Public Administration (MPA) at UAS after talking to some family.

The program intrigued me and fell in line with what I wanted to do with my career. I decided to jump feet first and here I am, less than two years later, about to graduate with my MPA in rural development.

Doyon Foundation: The degree seems to combine your professional work, your volunteer efforts and your long-term goals.

Shawna: I’m currently learning the world of self-governance at Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), where I’m employed as a self-governance operations coordinator. I’ve always said I would go to college and return to serve our people in whatever capacity they need me to.

Working full time and going to school full time haven’t left a lot of room for other activities, but I do volunteer as a committee co-chair at the Alaska Statewide Violence and Injury Prevention Partnership (ASVIPP).

ASVIPP is dedicated to reducing injury-related morbidity and mortality by providing leadership and expertise in the preparation, implementation, coordination and periodic review of injury prevention efforts.

I became involved because of my work in injury prevention and suicide prevention with TCC, and through partnerships with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. While my past work experience involved prevention, I find myself moving more toward assisting tribes in their self-determination efforts.

Doyon Foundation: You’ve earned Doyon Foundation scholarships since your undergraduate years. What has the Foundation’s help meant to you?

Shawna: I graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, and Doyon Foundation funded a large part of my degree. When I applied to UAS as a graduate student, Doyon Foundation again awarded me a scholarship, making student loans less of a burden. I appreciate these scholarships for helping offset the cost of my education.

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students earn college degrees. 

The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classic raises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

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:

DF_41_OpenPosition Promotion_blog

Seeking admin assistant applicants

 

Doyon Foundation is seeking applicants for our open administrative assistant position. If you are interested in being part of a dedicated team working to support students and revitalize Doyon region languages, this could be the job for you! This full-time position is based at the Foundation office in Fairbanks.

Our administrative assistant works closely with the Foundation executive director, handles administrative duties and provides support to our board of directors. This position also works with the Foundation team to support our language revitalization program, scholarship programs, community relations and fund development.

To apply, you’ll need to be a high school graduate or equivalent, have three years office experience, be able to type 45 WPM and use Microsoft Office programs, and have a valid driver’s license and access to a registered, insured vehicle.

If you or someone you know are interested in this position, please visit the Doyon, Limited employment webpage to learn more. To apply, create a Talent Bank profile on the Doyon website and then complete the online application. Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, June 6.

Justin

Justin Woods, Morris Thompson competitive scholarship recipient

A Doyon Foundation scholarship recipient and graduate of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Justin Woods is the son of Marsha Woods of Fairbanks. Justin plays professional hockey as a right-handed defenseman in the ECHL with the Jacksonville, Florida-based Icemen.

After earning his degree in business administration in 2017 from UAF, Justin joined the ECHL Icemen, one of the professional hockey teams affiliated with the National Hockey League. Affiliation means that Icemen team members are positioned to play in both the NHL and ECHL.

Justin earned a Morris Thompson scholarship from Doyon Foundation and credits the scholarship for helping him afford books and other materials as he worked toward his degree. His goals include building his resume and playing professional hockey.

In 2014, when he was 20 years old, Justin underwent cancer treatment, a period that he says has been his greatest obstacle so far. Among lessons he’s learned: “Don’t take anything for granted and give it your all!”

Morris Thompson Portrait

The late Morris Thompson

Named in honor of the late Morris Thompson, former president and CEO of Doyon, Limited, the Morris Thompson Scholarship, awarded by Doyon Foundation, has helped more than 200 students earn college degrees. 

The annual Morris Thompson Memorial Golf Classicraises money for this competitive scholarship fund. This year’s golf classic takes place June 21 and 22 in Fairbanks. To learn about opportunities to support the event as a sponsor or volunteer, visit the Foundation website for details. 

 

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.