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.

 

 

39_DLO_SeekingApplications Promotion_blog3

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. 

DF_17_GrantApplicationDeadline Promotion_blog_v2The 10 ancestral languages of the Doyon region are all severely to critically endangered, and will be lost within the span of a few generations if no action is taken. To support the revitalization of Interior Alaska’s Native languages, Doyon Foundation will award grants of up to $8,000 to fund language revitalization projects through the Our Language grant program. The deadline to submit a proposal has been extended to Monday, March 26, 2018, at 5 p.m. Download the application packet or view the flyer below:

2018 Our Language Grant Application

2018 Mini Grant Flyer

Doyon region tribal governments/tribal councils/communities; nonprofit Alaska Native organizations, societies and community groups; and Alaska Native cultural, educational and recreational organizations/centers are eligible to apply for an Our Language grant.

Grant proposals must include a project description and timeline; plan for language documentation; project budget; completed community language survey; letter of support from village council or tribal office; and community language plan (optional).

Doyon, Limited originally established the language grant program in 2012. The grants are now being administered by the Doyon Foundation language revitalization program. Last year, the Foundation awarded eight grants to support projects including community language classes, language app development, language learning through song and dance, curriculum development and summer camp activities. Read more about the 2017 grant recipients on the Foundation blog.

“The 2017 Our Language grant awardees are an outstanding group dedicated to ensuring the ancestral languages of the Doyon region continue on for future generations,” said Allan Hayton, director of the Foundation’s language revitalization program.

The endangered languages of the Doyon region 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.

An application packet, with complete details and instructions, is available here: 2018 Our Language Grant Application. Additional information is also available by contacting Niesje Tindall, Doyon Foundation administrative assistant, at 907.459.2048 or tindalln@doyon.com.

 

The 2018 Pick. Click. Give. campaign kicks off Monday, January 1, with the opening of the Alaska PFD application period. We encourage you to consider Pick. Click. Giving to Doyon Foundation when completing your PFD application. The PFD application period runs January 1 – March 31, 2018. Alaskans can apply online at www.pfd.alaska.gov.

student with checkFunds from Pick. Click. Give. directly benefit the Foundation’s student scholarships and support programs, as well as the efforts of our language revitalization program.

Last year, 57 donors contributed $3,975 to support Foundation scholarships. While we are very grateful for all support, last year’s Pick. Click. Give. total was a significant decrease from previous years.

Since the Foundation was established in 1989, we have awarded more than $6 million in scholarships to thousands of high school, vocational and college students pursuing their educational goals and striving to achieve their life dreams. Many of these students have shared that they simply would not have been able to attend college without the support of the Foundation. Yet with that support, they have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, teachers and leaders in our communities, setting positive examples for future generations of students to follow.
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But the support of the Foundation is more than just financial. Homesick students far from family have found comfort in the support of Foundation staff and alumni, and at events designed to celebrate and connect students and Foundation supporters. We also strive to help students develop a deeper connection with and pride in their rich Native culture.
Elder and youth recording Native language translationsIn addition to scholarships, the Foundation also places emphasis on celebrating and revitalizing Native culture. Through our language revitalization program, and Doyon Languages Online project, we are currently developing hundreds of online language-learning lessons for nine of the 10 Doyon region languages.

For more information on Doyon Foundation, contact foundation@doyon.com or 907-459-2048, or visit www.doyonfoundation.com. For more information on Pick. Click. Give., visit www.pickclickgive.org.
 

Here are your November Native Words of the Month in Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in) and Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross)! Hai’ and Tsin’ee to our translators, Allan Hayton and Irene Solomon Arnold.

Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in)

Gwichin November photo by Richard Mueller

Photo by Richard Mueller

November = Divii Zhrii

Deegii’in? = What are they doing?

Oodee shahan vizheh shih leii vikeech’agahch’yaa. = They are cooking lots of food at my mom’s house.

Listen to an audio recording of the translation: 

Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross)

Tanacross Nov photo

November = Demee Sǎa’, “Sheep Month”

Xníik’áatth = It became cold.

Nah’ôg xníik’áatth. = It turned cold outside.

Listen to an audio recording of the translation: 

 

Online Lessons to be Created for Nine Indigenous Languages of Doyon Region

 

Doyon Foundation has received a three-year, $977,423 grant from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program to expand its language revitalization efforts through the Doyon Languages Online II project.

Group of language learners participate in an activity

Holy Cross Deg Xinag Language Gathering

Through the project, the Foundation will increase the number of people who speak Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross), Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana), Deg Xinag and Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim) by creating more than 220 online language-learning lessons, training teachers in the use of the technology through partnerships with the Alaska Gateway and Iditarod school districts, and field testing the lessons with students.

The funding will allow the Foundation to build on the progress of the existing Doyon Languages Online project, which is already 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 this new grant, we will be able to produce online learning opportunities for nine of the 10 indigenous languages of the Doyon region,” said Doris Miller, executive director of Doyon Foundation. The nine languages targeted in the two Doyon Languages Online projects currently have little or no online educational materials for those wanting to learn.

Doyon Languages Online is a project of the Foundation’s language revitalization program, and is a partnership with 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning partially through software donated by Transparent Language. The Foundation first partnered with 7000 Languages in 2014 to create and provide learning content for the languages of the Doyon region in an accessible, engaging and proven online environment.

Two women at table reviewing Native language learning documents

Northway Where Are Your Keys Workshop

The 10 indigenous languages of the Doyon region represent half of the 20 total Alaska Native languages, which were recently made official languages of the state of Alaska. The 10 Doyon region languages are all severely to critically endangered, and are not being passed on to younger generations quickly enough to ensure their survival.

“Every year we are losing more of our Elders and first language speakers,” said Allan Hayton, director of the Foundation’s language revitalization program. “Today there are no villages in the Doyon region where children are learning their ancestral language as their first language.”

“But with this grant funding, combined with the support of our partners, the expertise of our Elders and teachers, and the interest of our people, there is real hope that we will pass on our languages to the next generations,” he said.

Doyon Foundation is the private foundation established in 1989 by Doyon, Limited to provide educational, career and cultural opportunities to enhance the identity and quality of life for Doyon shareholders. The Foundation, with support from Doyon, Limited, created the language revitalization program in 2012 to ensure the cultures and languages of the Doyon region are taught, documented and easily accessible.

For more information on Doyon Foundation and its language revitalization program and Doyon Languages Online project, visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact Doris Miller, executive director, or Allan Hayton, language revitalization program director, at foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.