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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.

 

“When speaking, a part of our history comes back to life”

 

DavidA committed language learner, speaker and student, David Engles is a content creator with Doyon Languages Online, a Doyon Foundation project that is creating online language-learning opportunities for nine of the 10 Alaska Native languages of the Doyon region.

David’s language is Benhti Kenaga’, a Doyon region language traditionally spoken in the vicinity of the Minto Flats and the Tanana Valley, including the region now occupied by the city of Fairbanks. It is one of 10 languages located in the Doyon region.

David’s parents are Celeste Engles and Glenn Alexander of Benhti. He wishes to recognize Betty Engles, Jim and Evelyn “Tudrock” Alexander, and Neal and Geraldine Charlie of Benhti.

David believes that upholding Benhti Kenaga’ as an established form of communication is a responsibility. “Our people created this language,” he says of Benhti Kenaga’. “Our language is a way of expressing ourselves with our unique worldview.”

David is in his junior year at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in linguistics.

Teachers who were instrumental as he learned Benhti Kenaga’ include Evelyn “Tudrock” Alexander, his paternal grandmother whom he calls Sitsu (“my grandmother”). David grew up around Sitsu and recalls that she always spoke to him in Benhti Kenaga’.

“She was so patient with me while teaching,” he says. “Every day we would engage in learning, from identifying animal parts to learning whom you give them to when feeding people.”

Acquiring vocabulary and mastering correct pronunciation in any language may be learned by rote memory; the strategy works, but it’s usually not fun. Tudrock’s method – incorporating lots of singing – made learning a joy.

“We even translated ‘Eight Days a Week’ by the Beatles into Benhti Kenaga’,” David says. And while they were singing, Tudrock was teaching the meaning of Benhti Kenaga’ words as well as how they’re ordered to express thought. Each lesson prepared him for the next. “We had fun,” he says.

As a content creator for Doyon Languages Online, David is part of a project with the goal to promote accurate use of language by teaching everyday terms. An example is learning to choose correct vocabulary for a given context – for instance, when to use “sitsu” (“my grandmother”) and “nitsu” (“your grandmother”).

Doyon Languages Online is in the process of creating introductory-level online lessons for nine of the 10 Doyon region languages. A project of Doyon Foundation, Doyon Languages Online is a partnership with the 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning.

Learning Benhti Kenaga’ is among David’s lifelong goals. His plans include producing short stories presented as children’s books and written in both Benhti Kenaga’ and English. The books are intended for anyone starting to learn Benhti Kenaga’.

“These stories can provide building blocks to a wider vocabulary,” he says. “Being able to express ourselves in our own language is a true reflection of who we are as people.”

As Doyon Foundation continues to grow our language revitalization efforts in the Doyon region, we would like 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 haytona@doyon.com. Language champions may also complete our profile questionnaire here. You may learn more about our language revitalization program on our website.

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Celebrate by sharing your language

 

Today is Indigenous Peoples Day, and Doyon Foundation invites you to celebrate by sharing YOUR language!

Last year, Gov. Bill Walker signed legislation recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day in Alaska. The law establishes Alaska as the second state in the nation to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October, replacing Columbus Day.

Join in the celebration by finding the “Happy Indigenous Peoples Day” translation in your language below and sharing it on social media. Be sure to tag @DoyonFoundation and your language!

#DihthâadXt’eenIinAand’ěg’
#Nee’aaneegn’
#DegXinag
#Dinak’i
#BenhtiKokhut’anaKenaga’
#Holikachuk
#Denaakk’e
#Hän
#DinjiiZhuhK’yaa

Doyon Foundation hosted a language gathering for Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) languages on June 5, 6 and 7, 2018, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks – Tok Campus. The group of 25 participants met from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. all three days. The workshop, which was free and open to all, was a great opportunity for those wanting to learn or improve their skills in these languages.

Instructors Irene Arnold and Cheryl Silas, along with Elders and speakers from both languages, introduced learners to essentials of Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross) and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana). Topics covered included basic literacy, conversation and listening.

“The most meaningful thing that I took away from the gathering was being there with the Elders and listening to them speak the language fluently with each other and being able to share that knowledge with the younger people that were there,” said participant Adena Cronk of Northway.

Among the activities, attendees learned and practiced introducing themselves in the language (see the Upper Tanana introduction worksheet here, and Tanacross introduction worksheet here), and translated “I am learning our language” with Elders. Tanacross instructor Irene Arnold shared a DVD titled “K’anech’oxdekdiigh: I’m Not Going to Teach You,” a collaboration between the Tanacross community and trained linguistic specialists from the Alaska Native Language Center. View the video here.

“The main takeaway for me was learning my introduction,” said participant Chance Shank of Dot Lake. He added, “I was glad to meet and speak with the other people at the gathering who are fluent in the language.”

Participant Peg Charlie of Tanacross agreed: “For someone who understands the language and grew up with it, it felt really good to be amongst our people and it was a good feeling to hear the language.”

At the gathering, Doyon Foundation staff also introduced the Doyon Languages Online project, which is working to create highly accessible online language-learning lessons for the endangered languages of the Doyon region.

There are currently two phases of the project. Phase one, which has funding support from the Administration of Native Americans (ANA), is focusing on five of the 10 Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in). Phase two, with funding support from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program (ANEP), will increase the number of people who speak the Doyon region languages of Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross), Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana), Deg Xinag and Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim).

The Foundation is currently seeking people interested in working as content creators and linguistic consultants on the ANEP-funded phase of Doyon Languages Online. Find more information and apply on the Foundation blog.

The ANEP-funded phase of Doyon Languages Online is a partnership with the Alaska Gateway School District (AGSD), and this gathering served as a kick-off to the three-year project. AGSD Superintendent Scott MacManus joined the group discussion, and is very enthusiastic about working together on this project.

“It was exciting to see first hand, the building momentum for the work being done by the language revitalization group this summer, and Alaska Gateway School District is thrilled to be a partner in this important and life-changing project,” MacManus said.

The Iditarod Area School District is another grant partner, and plans are underway for a similar gathering in their region for Deg Xinag and Dinak’i languages.

Before the gathering concluded, the group decided on a series of action items for moving forward over the next couple of years. These included:

  • Building on the language network across Alaska
  • Greeting others in the language
  • Making labels in the home as a reminder to stay in the language
  • Connecting with other learners
  • Creating a language domain in the home (a place in the home where you will only speak in the language)

“It gave me a boost to want to work more with the language,” said participant Lorraine Titus of Northway. “What I enjoyed the most was the flexibility of the event; we got things done but we didn’t have to follow an agenda.”

“Tsin’ee to all who joined us in Tok for the Nee’anděg’ and Nee’aanèegn’ language gathering,” said Diloola Erickson, Doyon Languages Online project manager. “The work that came out of the gathering was amazing and we’re excited to start working more with the participants and their language communities in the future.”

The Foundation offers a special thank you to the Elders present at the gathering, including Avis Sam of Northway, Roy David of Tetlin, Rosa Brewer of Northway, Cora Demit of Northway and Lorraine Titus of Northway.

For more information on Doyon Foundation, Doyon Languages Online or upcoming language revitalization events, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com.

 

 

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Doyon Foundation is pleased to announce a call for linguistics consultants and content creators for the Doyon Languages Online project. Interested applicants are encouraged to review the RFQs (request for qualifications) posted below and apply.

View linguistic consultant RFQ

View content creator RFQ

View application

The selected linguistics consultants and content creators will work with the Doyon Languages Online project to create 224 introductory online lessons for four of the endangered Doyon region languages: Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana), Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Deg Xinag and Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim).

Doyon Foundation received a three-year, $977,423 grant last fall from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program for this work, which builds on the progress of the existing Doyon Languages Online project.

Doyon Languages Online is currently in the process of developing online language-learning lessons for five of the Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in).

With the new funding, the Foundation is able to produce online learning opportunities for nine of the 10 indigenous languages of the Doyon region, in partnership with 7000Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning partially through software donated by Transparent Language Online.

For more information on the project scope, background, qualifications and selection process, please see the linguistic consultant RFQ and content creator RFQ. To apply, view and complete the application.

For additional information on Doyon Foundation or the Doyon Languages Online project, visit doyonfoundation.com or contact Allan Hayton at haytona@doyon.com or 907.459.2162.

 

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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. 

Diloola Erickson a1Doyon Foundation welcomes former student and intern Diloola Erickson as our new Doyon Languages Online II project manager!

“We are thrilled to have Diloola join our team and lead this new project. This is a beautiful example of ‘growing our own’ to serve important leadership roles in our region,” says Doris Miller, Foundation executive director. “Diloola brings energy, experience and passion for language revitalization, and we are excited to see how she helps grow this project.”

While the job is new to Diloola, she is not new to the Foundation. She is a previous Foundation scholarship recipient who graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks this spring with bachelor’s degrees in rural development and mechanical engineering.

Diloola also served as a First Alaskans Institute summer intern at the Foundation last year, developing multimedia materials promoting language revitalization in the Doyon region and helping to lead a language workshop at the 2017 First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference. Read more about Diloola in her language champion profile on the Foundation blog.

“I’m beyond thrilled to get to work with such a dynamic team at Doyon Foundation, and I’m honored to get to work on this project with our Athabascan languages,” Diloola says. “It feels really good to be able to step into a position where I can contribute to an organization that has helped me so much throughout my undergraduate studies.”

The Doyon Languages Online II project is funded by a three-year, $977,423 grant from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program. The project focuses on the languages Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana), Deg Xinag and Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim). It will create more than 220 online language-learning lessons, train teachers in the use of the technology, and field test lessons with students.

This project builds on the progress of the existing Doyon Languages Online project, which is already developing online language-learning for Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in). Through these two projects, the Foundation will produce online learning for nine of the 10 Doyon region languages.

For more information on Doyon Languages Online visit the Foundation website, www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo.