111_DLO_Course Promotion_Denaakk’e_FB-INDenaakk’e course now available for free to all interested learners

Doyon Foundation today released the third course in its Doyon Languages Online project, which is creating introductory online lessons for nine of the 10 endangered Doyon region languages. The Denaakk’e course joins the previously released Benhti Kenaga’ and Gwich’in courses. All three courses are now available at no charge to all interested language learners through the Doyon Foundation website.

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Denaakk’e, also called Tl’eeyegge Hʉkkenaage’ or Koyukon Athabascan language, originates from the areas surrounding the middle Yukon River, the Koyukuk River and the Lower Tanana Rivers in the central region of Alaska. Its traditional territory covers 78,000 square miles, approximately the size of the entire state of Minnesota.

“While our current population of over 3,000 people now live all across Alaska and the world, we estimate that there are 250 active Denaakk’e learners of all ages and races, striving to continue our arts, songs and practices in their schools and individual families. It is a living language that continues to change, evolve, grow and adapt, just like our communities,” said members of the Denaakk’e course content creation team.

Like the other Doyon Languages Online courses, the Denaakk’e course was developed by a team of content creators, Elders and a linguistics consultant, with the support of Foundation staff.

“The Denaakk’e content creation team relied on the expertise of the Denaakk’e language Elders and the materials they published from the 1970s to today,” said Allan Hayton, director of the Foundation’s language revitalization program. “The course has some wild turns in it, from how to talk with your baby to how to butcher a spruce hen you hit with your car on the way back from Minto. Special attention was paid to making these lessons relatable to today’s learners.”

The finished Denaakk’e course includes 10 units, each with five lessons of content, reviews and unit assessments, as well as 10 conversational videos with subtitles in English and Denaakk’e, and 25 culture and grammar notes. Supplemental resources include an extensive Denaakk’e (Koyukon) dictionary available for purchase through the Alaska Native Language Center, and additional free materials through the Alaska Native Language Archive. The Yukon Koyukuk School District currently hosts a Denaakk’e language program delivered via distance technologies to schools in rural Alaska.

The Foundation extends a special thank you to the Denaakk’e content creation team, including Elders Eliza Jones and Marie Yaska, and content creators Susan Paskvan, Dewey Kk’ołeyo Hoffman and Bev Kokrine; as well as Doyon, Limited; Paul Mountain; Denakkanaaga, Inc.; Yukon Koyukuk School District; Alaska Native Language Center and Alaska Native Language Archive; and the people who worked with the Denaakk’e language from the 1970s to today. Their work makes this course possible.

The declining number of speakers, and the desire to preserve and pass along the Native languages of the Doyon region to future generations is the driving force behind Doyon Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online project. The project is creating introductory online lessons for nine of the 10 endangered Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana).

In the past week, Doyon Foundation officially launched Doyon Languages Online with the release of the Benhti Kenaga’ and Gwich’in courses. Earlier this spring, the Foundation gave a preview of Doyon Languages Online with the release of a special set of Hän language lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby, an Alaska Native leader, respected Elder and language revitalization pioneer. The Foundation plans to release one additional course later this week.

The Doyon Languages Online launch coincides with the International Year of Indigenous Languages, which Doyon Foundation is a partner organization of.  In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. At the time, it was estimated that 40 percent of the 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing.

Doyon Languages Online is a partnership between Doyon Foundation and 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning through software donated by Transparent Language. It 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.

For more information on the Denaakk’e course and the Doyon Languages Online project, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com. For assistance signing up for or using Doyon Languages Online, view the instructional video series on YouTube.

ANA Language Revitalization Grant #: 90NL0626. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication, and all others associated with the Doyon Languages Online project, do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Administration for Children and Families, or the Administration for Native Americans.

 

 

111_DLO_Course Promotion_Benhti Kenaga'_FB-INCourse now available for free to all interested learners

Doyon Foundation officially launched its Doyon Languages Online project today with the release of a language-learning course for Benhti Kenaga’, one of the 10 endangered languages of the Doyon region. The online course is now available at no charge to all interested language learners through the Doyon Foundation website.

 

 

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Benhti Kenaga’ is one of the string of Athabascan languages and dialects spoken on the Tanana River in Alaska. Benhti, Toghotili, Ch’eno’ and Salchaket are all members of this group, but only Benhti Kenaga’ is spoken now. Benhti means “Among the lakes” and Kenaga’ refers to “the language.”

“Today, language use is strongest within our songs, either alone or in a group. Singing gives us the ability to express a connection to the past. Growing up hearing Elders sing these songs of yesterday prepared us for today, and gives strength to move forward. This also is a part of who we are, something that makes us unique,” shared the Benhti Kenaga’ content creation team.

The course was developed by a team of content creators, Elders and a linguistics consultant, with the support of Foundation staff. The team drafted the initial course over a two-week time period last year. Over the past year, with linguistic consultation and coaching from speakers, the team finalized and recorded the course, and developed supporting content including videos, slides and interactives.

“The Benhti Kenaga’ content creation team is an inspiration,” said Doris Miller, Doyon Foundation’s executive director. “Witnessing them coming together to speak their language, share their stories and develop lessons that would allow them to pass their language on to future generations was an incredible experience. Doyon Foundation is so pleased to have played a role in facilitating this language revitalization.”

The finished course includes 10 units, each with five lessons of content, reviews and unit assessments, as well as 15 conversational videos with subtitles in English and Benhti Kenaga’, and 13 culture and grammar notes. The Benhti Kenaga’ Pocket Dictionary, published in 2009 and available through the Alaska Native Language Center, is a recommended supplemental resource for anyone taking the course.

The Foundation extends a special thank you to Elders Sarah Silas, Vernell Titus, Anna Frank and Andy Jimmie; the Benhti Kenaga’ content creators/contributors David Engles, Vera Weiser and Bertina Titus; linguistic consultant Siri Tuttle; the Village of Minto; the City of Nenana; Doyon, Limited; Doyon Facilities; Julian Thibedeau; and all of the authors and contributors who created materials for the Benhti Kenaga’ language from 1970 to today, making the creation of this course possible.

The Benhti Kenaga’ course is the first in a series of courses to be launched through the Doyon Languages Online project, which is creating introductory online lessons for nine of the 10 endangered Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). The Foundation plans to release three additional courses over the next month.

Last month, Doyon Foundation gave a preview of Doyon Languages Online with the release of a special set of Hän language lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby, an Alaska Native leader, respected Elder and language revitalization pioneer.

Doyon Languages Online is a partnership between Doyon Foundation and 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning through software donated by Transparent Language. It 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 Doyon Languages Online launch coincides with the International Year of Indigenous Languages, which Doyon Foundation is a partner organization of.  In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. At the time, it was estimated that 40 percent of the 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing.

For more information on the Benhti Kenaga’ course and the Doyon Languages Online project, please visit the Foundation website or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com. For assistance signing up for or using Doyon Languages Online, view the instructional video series on YouTube.

ANA Language Revitalization Grant #: 90NL0626. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication, and all others associated with the Doyon Languages Online project, do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Administration for Children and Families, or the Administration for Native Americans.

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First course to be released tomorrow; three additional to follow

Tomorrow, Friday, June 21, after three years of dedicated efforts, Doyon Foundation will officially launch its Doyon Languages Online project with the release of the first online language-learning course featuring Benhti Kenaga’, one of the 10 endangered languages of the Doyon region. Over the next two weeks, the Foundation will release three additional courses: Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Denaakk’e (Koyukon) and Holikachuk. All courses will be available at no charge to all interested language learners through the Doyon Foundation website.

Earlier this spring, the Foundation gave a preview of Doyon Languages Online with the release of a special set of Hän language lessons based on the work of the late Isaac Juneby, an Alaska Native leader, respected Elder and language revitalization pioneer. Those lessons are currently available through the Doyon Foundation website.

The declining number of speakers, and the desire to preserve and pass along the Native languages of the Doyon region to future generations is the driving force behind Doyon Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online project, which began in 2016.

With the support of teams of content creators, Elders and linguistics consultants, the project is creating introductory online lessons for nine of the 10 endangered Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana).

“The content creation teams have been an inspiration,” said Doris Miller, Doyon Foundation’s executive director. “Witnessing them coming together to speak their language, share their stories and develop lessons that would allow them to pass their language on to future generations was an incredible experience. Doyon Foundation is so pleased to have played a role in facilitating this language revitalization.”

The Doyon Languages Online launch coincides with the International Year of Indigenous Languages, which Doyon Foundation is a partner organization of.  In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages. At the time, it was estimated that 40 percent of the 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing.

“After years of dedicated efforts, we are so pleased to share this language revitalization work with all interested learners,” Miller said. “It is even more special to launch Doyon Languages Online in conjunction with the International Year of Indigenous Languages.”

Doyon Languages Online is a partnership between Doyon Foundation and 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning through software donated by Transparent Language. It 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. Doyon Foundation is the private foundation of Alaska Native regional corporation, Doyon, Limited.

For more information on the Doyon Languages Online project and upcoming course releases, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com. For assistance signing up for or using Doyon Languages Online, view the instructional video series on YouTube.

ANA Language Revitalization Grant #: 90NL0626. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this publication, and all others associated with the Doyon Languages Online project, do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Administration for Children and Families, or the Administration for Native Americans.

DLO instructional video screenshotWith a preview of the Doyon Languages Online project now available, and more courses rolling out soon, we wanted to provide some helpful tips to all you language learners!

Check out our short instructional video series on how to sign up for Doyon Languages Online (for free!), how to add and use the courses, and how to take advantage of some of the software features, like the microphone and easy type.

Need additional assistance? Visit www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo or contact us at 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

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Juneby’s lessons get new life through Doyon Languages Online partnership

For years, the lessons created by the late Isaac Juneby to share the endangered Hän language were used by a small group of dedicated learners from homemade photocopies and audio replicas of the original booklet and CD. Now, the lessons are getting new life through a partnership with Doyon Foundation, Transparent Languages and its nonprofit 7000 Languages, and support of Juneby’s family and community.

Juneby, a respected Alaska Native leader and wise Elder, was born to Willie and Louise Juneby in Eagle Village, Alaska, in July 1941. He died in a tragic car accident in July 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska.

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Juneby was an early pioneer in the revitalization of Alaska Native languages, recognizing the need in the early 1990s. “He saw that we were losing the language, that young people didn’t know it. He was concerned about losing the language. It was important to him to write it, to get a book out,” shares his sister, Adeline Juneby Potts.

A fluent speaker of the Hän language, Juneby recorded the Hän language lessons in his Eagle dialect in 1994 with John Ritter of the Yukon Native Language Centre in Whitehorse, Yukon. The original tape of the lessons and accompanying booklet were made available in a limited run, but have long been out of circulation.

“He always contributed greatly with his deep knowledge of Hän language — and his great sense of humor. It was a joy to work with him, and such tragedy to lose him so suddenly a few years ago. Having these lessons out and available will enable his legacy to continue,” Ritter remarks. “The Doyon Foundation project breathed new life into teaching materials that had ‘sat on the shelf,’ unused and gathering dust, for quite some time. The new tools and formats enable this kind of resuscitation of still-valuable work from years ago.”

Juneby’s lessons are now available again, this time widely accessible to all interested learners online through Doyon Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online project. Doyon Languages Online is a partnership with 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning partially through software donated by Transparent Language.

“By posting Isaac’s language lessons in the Transparent Languages Online format, we hope to serve the needs of those wishing to advance their own speaking, listening and reading knowledge of the Hän language,” says Allan Hayton, director of Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program.

“We dedicate this work to Isaac’s memory, knowing that our friend would be delighted to see his work available in a modern format,” Ritter adds.

The online lessons are based on Juneby’s original work with support from the Yukon Native Language Centre and the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The lessons are arranged in a seasonal activity format, September through June, but learners are free to access the material they are most interested in rather than follow a strict order. The lessons are now available via the Doyon Foundation website, and are free for all interested language learners to access.

“I hope that Isaac’s Hän language legacy embodied in these lessons will be enjoyed by all those interested in learning to speak and understand the ancestral language of the Hän Gwich’in of Eagle Village, Alaska,” says Juneby’s wife, Sandra Juneby.

The release of Juneby’s Hän language lessons offers a preview of the full Doyon Languages Online project, which is currently working to develop and release online language-learning lessons for nine of the 10 endangered languages of the Doyon region. The project is also working with Elder Ruth Ridley on another set of Hän language lessons.

“We are so honored to debut the Doyon Languages Online project with these very special lessons, and we are deeply grateful for the support of Isaac’s family and community,” says Doris Miller, Doyon Foundation executive director. “We hope these lessons will honor Isaac’s memory and carry forward his work to strengthen and share the Hän language with future generations.”

About Isaac Juneby

Juneby was born and raised in Eagle Village. He also spent time in the small, close-knit Hän community of people who lived and worked seasonally at Coal Creek and Woodchopper mining camps along the Yukon River. He attended grade school at Wrangell Institute and graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany. When Juneby returned home to Eagle Village, he was elected chief, making him the youngest leader ever elected to that position. Later he returned to school and earned a diploma at Sitting Bull College, and then a bachelor’s degree in rural development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

During his lifetime, Juneby worked for a number of private, First Nations, federal and Alaska government organizations, always striving to help advance the cause of Native people. He was active in village tribal matters, subsistence issues, and hunting and fishing rights and management. He and his wife, Sandra, raised four children together, always maintaining their connection to the land.

In addition to recording the language lessons, Juneby worked with his own community and with the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation in Dawson City to revitalize his language. He faithfully attended Hän literacy sessions at the Yukon Native Language Centre and in Dawson City.

About the Hän language

Hän is an Athabascan language spoken in the Alaska village of Eagle and in the Yukon Territory at Dawson City. A writing system was established in the 1970s, and considerable documentation has been carried out at the Alaska Native Language Center as well as at the

Yukon Native Language Centre. Hän is one of 47 languages in the Athabaskan language family, which is part of the larger Na-Dené family, and is most closely related to Gwich’in and Upper Tanana. The name of the language is derived from the name of the people, “Hän Hwëch’in,” which in the language means “people who live along the (Yukon) river.”

About Doyon Languages Online

Doyon Languages Online is a partnership between Doyon Foundation and 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning through software donated by Transparent Language.

The project is creating introductory online lessons for nine of the 10 of the endangered Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Deg Xinag, Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana). Additional goals include working with teachers in the Doyon region school districts to incorporate these courses into their lessons, field testing course utilization and effectiveness, and developing guides for dialects to develop their own courses.

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.

For more information

For more information on the Hän language lessons and the Doyon Languages Online project, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.

Speakers of the endangered Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) language gathered together in Tok, Alaska, in early January 2019 to develop content for an online course to teach individuals interested in learning the language and preserving it for future generations. The workshop was organized and hosted by Doyon Foundation.

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The Alaska Native language of Nee’aanèegn’ is spoken mainly in the Alaska villages of Northway, Tetlin and Tok, but has a small population also across the border in Canada.

The course is part of the Foundation’s Doyon Languages Online (DLO) project, which is developing and publishing a total of 224 online language-learning lessons for the endangered Doyon region languages of Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross), Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana), Deg Xinag and Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim). Ultimately, there will be 10 units consisting of a total of 56 essential lessons for each language. Courses will be available through the Transparent Languages Online platform, in partnership with the Alaska Gateway and Iditarod Area school districts. The DLO project is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Alaska Native Education Program.

During the focused, closed session, the team reviewed materials created over the last several months, and completed drafts of remaining materials for the course.

The workshop drew speakers from across Alaska and as far away as Canada. DLO content creators Cheryl Silas and Polly Hyslop helped facilitate the workshop. Elders Roy Sam, Avis Sam and Cora Demit were also in attendance, along with Rowena Sam. Ruth Johnny and David Johnny drove in from across the border in Beaver Creek. Linguist Olga Lovick traveled from Regina, Saskatchewan, to help with eliciting, editing and proofreading lessons.

“I’m really happy with the work that we got done here and for all the love and effort that our Elders, content creators, and community members put into these courses,” said Diloola Erickson, Doyon Languages Online II project manager. “I feel very blessed and honored to be a part of this process and I look forward to continued work on our languages.”

A follow-up gathering focused on recording of the lessons with Elders will follow in the spring.

For more information on Doyon Languages Online, visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact Diloola Erickson at ericksond@doyon.com or 907.459.2058.

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Support Doyon Foundation when you apply for your PFD by March 31 

Alaskans have the very unique opportunity to support the nonprofits and causes they care about by making a Pick. Click. Give. pledge when they complete their PFD applications. The application deadline for the 2019 PFD is nearly here – applications are due Sunday, March 31. If you’ve already applied for your PFD, it is easy to log back in to your account and add a Pick. Click. Give. pledge.

When you Pick. Click. Give. to Doyon Foundation, you are supporting not one, but two important areas: scholarships for students, as well as efforts to revitalize the endangered Alaska Native languages of the Doyon region.

Since 1989, Doyon Foundation has been providing educational, career and cultural opportunities to enhance the identity and quality of life for Doyon shareholders. At last count, we have awarded more than $10.6 million in scholarships to thousands of students! Last year alone, we awarded $820,870 to 412 students pursuing traditional four-year degrees, as well as certificates, associate degrees, graduate studies and vocational training. Visit our blog to read profiles featuring students who have benefitted from our generous Pick. Click. Give. donors.

In addition to our robust scholarship program, we have undertaken a leadership role in the revitalization of the Doyon region languages. Of the 20 Alaska Native languages, 10 of them are based in the Doyon region – and are all endangered. Through our language revitalization program and Doyon Languages Online project, we are working with language speakers and interested learners to ensure that our Native languages survive and thrive for future generations.

Last year, 52 donors contributed a total of $3,200 to Doyon Foundation. Help us exceed this amount by making your Pick. Click. Give. pledge today! Remember – the deadline to apply for your 2019 PFD is March 31, and if you’ve already applied, it’s not too late to add a Pick. Click. Give. gift!

You can learn more about Doyon Foundation and our work on our website or blog, or by contacting us at 907.459.2048 or foundation@doyon.com.