Nearly 60 Doyon Foundation students, alumni and supporters gathered to celebrate the Foundation’s fall 2019 scholarship recipients at the annual scholarship award ceremony, which took place August 30 in Fairbanks. Doris Miller, Foundation executive director, and LaVerne Demientieff, Foundation board member and chair of the language revitalization committee, welcomed all in attendance.830192.jpg

At the event, the Foundation announced its 2019 full-time and part-time basic scholarship recipients, as well as the 2019 – 2020 competitive scholarship recipients. This fall, the Foundation awarded 277 scholarships, including 83 part-time basic scholarships, 148 full-time basic scholarships, and 46 competitive scholarships, for a grand total of $378,000.

Guests, including VIPs University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen and members of Doyon, Limited’s board of directors and senior management, heard from alumna speaker, Sonja Sommer, and student speaker, Rebekah Hartman.

Sommer received an associate degree in applied accounting, an occupational endorsement certificate in bookkeeping, and a bachelor’s of business administration in general business, all from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Hartman, a junior at UAF pursuing a bachelor’s degree in animation, was selected this fall for the $5,000 Morris Thompson Committee Choice competitive scholarship. The event was particularly special for Hartman, whose parents surprised her by driving from Wasilla to Fairbanks to show their support at the ceremony.

p1000800.jpgThe 23 students in attendance also had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the audience.

Miller offered a special thank you to donors, including Doyon, Limited, whose generosity makes these scholarships possible.

The next scholarship application deadline is Friday, November 15, 2019, for basic scholarships for the spring 2020 semester. Doyon shareholders and descendants are eligible to apply for Foundation scholarships, which include advanced college credit awards for high school students, short-term vocational scholarships, basic scholarships for part-time and full-time students, and competitive scholarships.

For more information, visit or contact or 907.459.2048.


78_Student Dinner Promotion_FB-INWhat are you doing on Wednesday, November 6? If you are in Fairbanks, we hope you’ll join us at our fall student dinner! Time and location are TBA, but you know there will be delicious food, fun activities and great company. Plus, student Noah Lovell will be there to share about his internship experience! Watch for more details and we hope to see you there!

Noah Lovell

Student Noah Lovell, featured speaker at our 2019 fall student dinner


We are excited to share this short comic, written in Gwich’in and illustrated by our summer intern, Claire Ketzler! This book follows a Gwich’in story, Shihtthoo Tr’ik, The Young Brown Bear Woman.

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Box 1: There was once a young brown bear woman.
Box 2: She was very, very beautiful.
Box 3: Her father loved her.
Box 4: He did not allow her out alone.

page 3

Box 1: Despite this, she left one day for water.
Box 2: When she reached water, she met raven.
Box 3: Raven was always playing tricks.
Box 4: Here! Drink this water I am holding!

page 4

Box 1: She decided to drink the water.
Box 2: She drank something black and small in the water.
Box 3: That night she went back home, she fell ill.

page 5

Box 1: She was pregnant, about to give birth.
Box 2: She gave birth. It was a beautiful baby boy.

page 6

Box 1: The little boy grew up fast.
Box 2: The boy liked the moon that hung up on the wall.
Box 3: It lit up the house but kept the world in darkness.

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Box 1: The son took the moon from its place.
Box 2: His grandfather said,
Box 3: “Don’t take the moon away from the house.”
Box 4: “Stay close by.”

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Box 1: The boy didn’t mind his grandfather.
Box 2: He took the moon outside to play with it.
Box 3: Raven was sitting high in a tree watching.

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Box 1: Raven swooped in.
Box 2: And took the moon.
Box 3: He threw it high into the sky.

page 10

Box 1: The moon is there to this day.



View a video of the full story on our YouTube channel!

Want to learn Gwich’in, or other languages of the Doyon region? Sign up for the Doyon Languages Online course – free and available to all interested language learners!

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!

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Born and raised in Nikolai, the upper Kuskokwim Athabascan community on the south fork of the Kuskokwim River, Daniel Esai is a language learner, teacher and speaker of Dinak’i. His parents are Dora Esai and the late Phillip Esai, both of Nikolai. His family includes sisters Martha Runkle and Jacqueline Esai, both of Nikolai, and several nieces and nephews.

Daniel’s paternal grandparents are Gleman Esai of the Nikolai area and Martha Alexie of the area surrounding Stony River, Sleetmute and Lime Village. Daniel’s maternal grandparents are Golgomy and Alexandria Dennis, both of the Nikolai area.

Daniel, 56, pursued vocational education and went on to work as a roughneck and roustabout for Doyon Drilling. His goals include rejoining Doyon Drilling and taking part soon in the Doyon Leadership Training program for shareholders seeking to develop leadership skills. He’s eager for computer training for work readiness and self-sufficiency. Daniel enjoys hunting and fishing to support his family, while caring for his elderly mother.

“I learned to speak my language from parents and my Grandma Alexandria,” Daniel recalls.

Growing-up years found him gravitating to the Elders, listening to them speak their language and absorbing their wisdom. “I miss the days when I used to listen to my Aunt Katherine Deaphon, when we used to laugh and speak our language a lot,” Daniel says. “I learned a lot from everyone.”

As he writes on his Facebook page, Daniel believes in family, sharing what we’re given and being kind — values he traces to following in the ways of Elders. “I was always hanging around the old people – I don’t know why that is, but I believe it taught me to be nice to others and that has kept me alive.”

He tells the story of an old blind man who lived among the people of Nikolai and was tormented by children who poked the man with sticks before running away. “I would fight with the ones who picked on the blind man,” Daniel says, adding that kindness and helping the vulnerable have kept him alive.

“My language means the whole thing to me,” he says. “It will point me in which direction to go when I die.” He recalls instructions handed down through the generations: “When I pass away, I’ll be asked what my clan is and I will answer in Dinak’i, Dichinanek Hwtana clan.”

Daniel serves on Doyon Foundation’s advisory committee for the Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim) language, as part of the Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online project. Doyon Language Online is developing introductory online lessons for the Alaska Native languages of the Doyon region, including Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Deg Xinag, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Hän, Holikachuk, and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana). The Foundation launched the first four online language-learning courses in summer 2019, and courses are now available for free to all interested learners through the Doyon Foundation website.

Doyon Languages Online is funded by a three-year grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), awarded in 2016, and an additional three-year grant from the Alaska Native Education Program (ANEP), awarded in 2017. The project is a partnership with 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning through software donated by Transparent Language.

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we believe it is important to recognize people who are committed 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 Language champions may also complete our profile questionnaire here. You may learn more about our language revitalization program on our website, or sign up to access the free Doyon Languages Online courses here.

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Doyon Foundation is currently seeking candidates for three open seats on its board of directors. The seats are for three-year terms, expiring in 2022. The deadline to apply is Monday, October 28, at 5 p.m.


Candidates seeking election to the Doyon Foundation board must be:

  • A Doyon, Limited shareholder
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Knowledgeable about private foundation management and higher education
  • Familiar with the Foundation’s vision, goals, mission and purpose
  • Committed to carrying out the duties of a board member, which include:
    • Attending quarterly board meetings
    • Serving on two board committees
    • Completing work outside of meetings
    • Representing the Foundation at various events
    • Speaking on behalf of the Foundation at events, if asked
    • Note that some board work is conducted remotely, and computer and online access is strongly encouraged

Doyon Foundation is specifically interested in candidates with nonprofit board and fundraising experience. Additionally, candidates residing in a rural community within the Doyon region are especially encouraged to apply.

Important Notice

Please note that, under federal laws governing private foundations, family members of Doyon Foundation board members are NOT eligible to receive a Doyon Foundation basic or competitive scholarship during their term on the board. Family members are defined as the board members’ spouse, ancestors, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and the spouses of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Current Doyon Foundation scholarship recipients are also not eligible to serve on the board.

Responsibilities/Job Description

The duties of a Doyon Foundation board member include:

  • Contribute skills that help the Foundation make progress on planning.
  • Consistently work toward and produce results related to the Foundation’s strategic focus areas, which include providing consistent measurable results, diversifying and growing revenue streams, increasing shareholder educational opportunities, enhancing operations, and revitalizing languages and traditional Native values.
  • Define and oversee the mission of the Foundation and keep it relevant to the needs of Doyon shareholders and their descendants.
  • Approve programs/services and monitor their effectiveness.
  • Provide strategic guidance to the Foundation and its executive director.
  • Ensure financial solvency and help raise resources.
  • Select, support and evaluate the executive director.
  • Ensure continuous board improvement.
  • Attend quarterly meetings in Fairbanks, Alaska, as well as any special meetings called.
  • Serve on two board committees and possibly chair one committee, which include finance/investment, development/fundraising, language revitalization/culture, and governance.
  • Participate in at least one board training event each year.
  • Demonstrate willingness to take on other duties and assignments, as needed.
  • Represent and, if asked, speak on behalf of Doyon Foundation at various events.

Application Instructions/Deadline

Applications are accepted using an online form. The form does not take long to fill out and candidates are able to upload resumes and/or other materials.

Candidates may also download and print a hard-copy form to complete and mail to Doyon Foundation, 615 Bidwell Avenue, Suite 101, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99701. Mailing instructions are provided on the form.

Please note that candidates are required to submit an updated resume along with their completed application.

It is highly recommended that candidates familiarize themselves with the Foundation and its work by reviewing the Foundation’s website, blog and social media channels prior to submitting an application. All of these links are available at

The deadline to apply is Monday, October 28, 2019, at 5 p.m.

For more information, please visit or contact Doris Miller, Doyon Foundation executive director, at 907.459.2048 or


123_PickClickGive_FinalPush_Promotion_FB-INA big thank you to everyone who made a Pick. Click. Give. pledge to support Doyon Foundation scholarships this year. Thanks to your generosity, we have surpassed the number of donors and total amount pledged from past year. We truly appreciate your support.

The 2019 amount pledged is enough to fund approximately:

  • 9 advanced college credit scholarships for high school students taking college-level courses
  • Nearly 5 basic scholarships for part-time students
  • 3 basic scholarships for full-time students
  • Or nearly 4 short-term vocational scholarships

If you would like to help increase these numbers even further, we welcome your support! You can add or change your Pick. Click. Give. pledge through Saturday, August 31. Simply log back in to your MyAlaska account on the PFD webpage to add or change a pledge.

From all of the Foundation staff, board members and students, we say: Ana Basi’! Dogidinh! Baasee’/Maasee’! Hąį’ęę! Mä̀hsi’! Xisigidasidhut! Tsín’ęę! Tsen’anh! Tsen’įį! Quyanaq! Thank you!