Foundation shares “great ideas” from 2018 grantees

The recipients of the 2018 Our Language grants, awarded by Doyon Foundation, recently completed their language revitalization projects and submitted reports detailing their efforts and outcomes.

“The 2018 Our Language grantees are a varied group of dedicated and resourceful organizations with great ideas to share with others around the region,” says Allan Hayton, the Foundation’s language revitalization program director.

The 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 address this crisis, Doyon, Limited established the Our Language grant program in 2012, and the Doyon Foundation language revitalization program now manages it.  Since inception of the grant program, $350,000 has been awarded to support a wide range of language revitalization projects.

“The hope of the Our Language grant program is to support community efforts in strengthening languages, cultural identity, traditional wisdom and values so they may be passed on to future generations,” says Doris Miller, Foundation executive director.

The 2018 Our Language grants supported the following language revitalization projects and efforts:

Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC). Jennifer Romer, ANHC’s director of education, and language instructors Alice Hess and Mellisa Heflin attended the Indigenous Language Institute (ILI) 9th Annual Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The institute “provided an opportunity to learn from successful language programs within urban and rural programming to enhance our community continuum,” Romer says. Speakers at ILI’s Institute included Laura Jagles address on “How We Carry and Bestow Knowledge,” and Madison Fulton and Eric Hardy’s look at “Historical Trauma and Cultural Resilience: An Indigenous Framework Approach to Empower Language.”

KRFF Voice of Denali 89.1. KRFF has a large collection of “word of the day” and other phrases in the many Native languages across their listenership area. They had a target of digitizing over 7,000 Native language audio clips from their radio shows. The process involved editing existing “word of the day” and “phrase of the day” electronic files and then broadcasting them out to KRFF’s listening audience in Interior Alaska and beyond. KRFF has posted the Native language clips to their Soundcloud, which can be accessed on their website.

Eagle IRA Council. The Eagle project focused on creating podcasts from books and other learning materials. A community workshop was held on how to create podcasts in the Hän language and develop more learning materials accessible through phones and other devices. The workshop created greater capacity by teaching production skills to community members, and enlisting Eagle School students’ help with the project. The project also created “daily life” instructional videos featuring Bertha Ulvi and Ethel Beck, who shared how to set rabbit snares and clean rabbits in the Hän language. Eagle plans to continue building on this project by developing and submitting a 2019 Administration for Native Americans grant proposal.

Native Village of Fort Yukon. Community youth created their own council and planned a youth and cultural language program, including year-round cultural activities where Gwich’in language is used to teach traditional activities. At a winter culture camp, a participant shared that it was “empowering to speak the language in a positive environment” among their friends. Participating youth shared their experiences on air at the KZPA radio station, highlighting the language skills and cultural knowledge learned through the activities.

Edzeno’ Native Village Council (Nikolai). A Nikolai culture/language camp was held in partnership with the Iditarod Area School District – Top of the Kuskokwim School and Telida Village Council. Nikolai Village offered a culture and language camp with a focus on preserving the Upper Kuskokwim language and igniting a spark in the younger generation. Adult participant Stephanie Petruska shares, “It was good, everything from the way they were taught to just getting together every day that week.”

Native Village of Tanacross. This project provided language and culture classes where participants recorded culture and language. The goals were to document Native culture, including stories and language, and have youth speak the language. Videos and CDs produced from this project will be provided to Tanacross School, and will be available to community members wanting to learn. The project is part of Tanacross’ ongoing push to teach traditional cultural knowledge, and bridge the gap between youth and Elders.

Tanana Tribal Council. This project promoted Denaakk’e language revitalization by encouraging language learners to practice and solidify current skills. The goal was to build a base for students to develop language-learning skills, and to create videos of language lessons. The project is a partnership between Tanana Tribal Council, Tanana City School District and Yukon-Koyukuk School District. Classroom learning opportunities were offered for students in grades K through 5 during the spring semester of the 2017 – 2018 school year and the fall semester of the 2018 – 2019. The videos created through this project are intended to supplement the formal lessons, by adding opportunities to hear the language spoken when a Denaakk’e teacher is not available.

Tetlin Village Council. Tetlin’s project “Enhancing Culture Camp with Language Sessions” took place over the summer. The focus of their project was to promote language revitalization by having local speakers work together to teach participants during the Tetlin culture and wellness camp. Learners worked with traditional stories told by Titus David and learned useful Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) Tetlin dialect expressions during the camp.

The Foundation recently announced the nine recipients of 2019 Our Language grants, which total $50,000. Read more about this year’s recipients and projects on the Foundation blog.

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 and receive an Our Language grant.

For more information on the language revitalization program or Our Language grants, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact the language revitalization program at foundation@doyon.com or 907.459.2048.

The Indigenous languages of the Doyon region:

  • 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

  • Inupiaq

  • Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana)

85_our language grants promotion_blog

DEADLINE EXTENDED to Friday, February 15, 2019

 

In a continuing effort to revitalize the endangered Native languages of the Doyon region, Doyon Foundation will award grants of up to $5,000 to support language revitalization efforts. The application deadline for the 2019 Our Language grants has been extended to Friday, February 15, 2019, at 5 p.m. 

Download the 2019 Our Language grant application

Download and share grant informational 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).

The 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. These endangered languages 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 established the language grant program in 2012, and the Doyon Foundation language revitalization program now manages the grant program. Last year, the Foundation awarded nine grants totaling $64,000 to support projects including professional development, radio broadcasts, teacher training, audio and video lesson development, language immersion activities, culture camps, and lesson plan development. Read more about the 2018 grant recipients on the Foundation blog.

“The goal of the Our Language grant program is to support efforts to revitalize the endangered languages of the Doyon region. We are honored to support awardees as they bring their language projects to life,” said Allan Hayton, director of the Foundation’s language revitalization program.

An application packet, with complete details and instructions, is available here. For additional information, contact Jennifer Mayo-Shannon at 907.459.2074 or mayo-shannonj@doyon.com.

This Thursday and Friday, March 1 and 2, 11 a.m.

DF_17_GrantApplicationDeadline Promotion_blogPlanning to submit a proposal for an Our Language grant? Want some tips for developing your proposal? Have questions about the application or granting process? Need to brainstorm ideas for your project?

If so, then join Doyon Foundation for an Our Language grant teleconference this Thursday and Friday, March 1 and 2, at 11 a.m.! To participate, simply call 1.800.315.6338 and use the PIN 556677.

Not able to attend the teleconference? You’re welcome to call anytime with questions – contact Allan Hayton, language revitalization program director at 907.459.2162 or haytona@doyon.com.

Through the Our Language grant program, the Foundation will award grants of up to $8,000 to fund language revitalization projects. 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.

Our Language grant proposals are due no later than Monday, March 5, 2018, at 5 p.m. Learn more on our blog or access the application packet here.

 

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 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 a total of six grants of up to $5,000 each. The deadline to submit a proposal is Friday, February 24, 2017, at 5 p.m. Applications are available on the Foundation website. grant-flyer-jpeg

Doyon region tribal governments/tribal councils/communities; not-for-profit 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, which was created in 2009.

“We were very happy with the 2016 projects that were awarded, and look forward to this year’s round of proposals. These awards are essential to building momentum for language revitalization in our Doyon region communities” said Allan Hayton, director of the language revitalization program. “Our board and staff are committed to ensuring that current and future generations of Athabascan people have the opportunity to hear, to learn, and to speak the language of our ancestors.”

The endangered languages of the Doyon region include Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Deg Xinag, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), Hän, Holikachuk, Tanacross, Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana), and Inupiaq.

An application packet, with complete details and instructions, is available on the Doyon Foundation website. Additional information is also available by contacting Sommer Stickman, Doyon Foundation administrative assistant, at stickmans@doyon.com or 907-459-2048.

Editor’s note: Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jennie Irwin, who passed away on January 18, 2017. Jennie is pictured below in several of the photos from the Nenana Fish Camp.

The Nenana Native Association and Toghotthele Corporation hosted their annual Fish Camp July 18 – 29, 2016. The camp, organized by Janet Allen, Jeri Knabe and Amanda Salmon, and staffed by Kelly Ann Burke, Tracy Snow and Lynn Puryear, was open to all. Children and families from neighboring communities and many from the “non-Native” community attended the camp. Doyon Foundation’s Our Language grant and Doyon, Limited’s Daaga’ Awards were among the funders for this year’s Fish Camp, which promotes Lower Tanana Athabascan values of knowledge and respect for culture and heritage.

Lower Tanana language was a cornerstone of this year’s camp, and the children learned the names for parts of the human body, greetings, familial names, and how to identify many different animals in the language. They also had a great time singing songs in their ancestral language loudly and with confidence.

Parents have reported that their children have retained the knowledge from the camp – and are now sharing with the community. Carol Thomas shared, “I really enjoyed talking with my granddaughter about what she had learned during each day.” Lilly O’Brien, parent of two attendees, said, “I think my girls learned this year – they learn more and more every year.”

“I am confident that if you asked my kids if they would rather spend two weeks at fish camp – or two weeks at Disneyland – that they would choose Fish Camp.” – Tracy Snow

Camp attendees also went berry picking, took boat rides, learned camping and safety skills, and made many crafts. All attendees – kids, staff, elders and parents – truly enjoyed all aspects of Fish Camp. The kids enjoyed the games, the field trips and the food. The adults enjoyed talking with the kids about what they had learned. Adults also took pride in the fact that their children are now singing at cultural events and encouraging others to do so.

Attendees talked about goals for next year, including having kids stay at camp during bad weather to get a feel for what fish camp is “really” like during less-than-favorable conditions. They would also like to put additional focus on camping skills, such as setting up camp, collecting wood, tanning hides or collecting the birch bark for baskets. Parents would like their children learning skills from the beginning (collecting materials) to the end (finished product).

Each year families enjoy coming together at “Toghotthele,” which means “mountain that parallels the river,” to learn the language, music, and ways of the ancestors. Tracy Snow, staff and parent of four attendees, shared, “I am proud that my kids can sing and dance and speak at cultural events, and that they enthusiastically ask others to participate too.”

For more information on the Our Language grants or Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact Allan Hayton at haytona@doyon.com or 907.459.2162.

Doyon Foundation is happy to announce the 2016 Our Language grant awardees. The Foundation received 17 proposals for consideration this year. After careful review and evaluation by the selection committee, nine proposals have been fully or partially funded, with awards totaling $50,000. Of this year’s recipients, seven are first-time awardees.

The 10 ancestral languages of the Doyon region are all severely to critically endangered, and the Our Language grant program was developed to support the revitalization of these languages. Doyon, Limited originally established the language grant program in 2012. The Foundation’s language revitalization program now administers the grant program.

This year’s funded projects represent many different aspects of language revitalization, from documentation to curriculum development to summer camp activities. The 2016 Our Language grants will help to fund the following efforts:

Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC): ANHC will offer eight language immersion sessions (two Saturdays per month) from November to February in Koyukon and Gwich’in. Experienced instructors will work with eight apprentices. The goal of these sessions is to develop a cohort of new language instructors.

Anvik: Deg Xinag Digitization Project. The Anvik Tribal Council will promote language revitalization by digitizing Deg Xinag language recordings collected over 40-plus years. These recordings represent stories, language lessons, history, knowledge and culture from elders that have passed on. These items will be converted into digital-format DVDs and MP4s to reach younger generations.

Eagle: This project involves working with fluent speakers to integrate language into key cultural activities, including hunting, fishing, sewing, drum and canoe making, with a goal to provide context and greater meaning for learners. Eagle is incorporating this project into a larger initiative supported by CIRI Foundation’s Journey to What Matters, which focuses on revitalizing traditional arts and crafts.

Huslia: Denaakk’e Hustlers Project. In Huslia this summer, youth workers will develop basic Denaakk’e lessons with instructor Susan Paskvan. Young people will collect lessons and other materials from elders and share them with other language-learners by posting online. “We live in a changing world … and we have to bridge the gap between elders and youth. This project is one way that we can bring young and old together around language,” wrote Tribal Administrator Shandara Swatling.

Koyukuk: Four community elders will instruct a class for adult language learners, with the aim to “speak in full sentences.” The adults will be immersed in the language, and will themselves become instructors by passing the language they learn on to young people.

Nenana: This project will integrate language learning into summer camp activities. Language topics will include familial terms, greetings, names for different plants, animals, days of the week, tools and materials. Students will also learn Athabascan songs and dances. The lessons will be shared using the Where Are Your Keys method, and documented for future learners.

Nikolai: Denak’i Nots’whtolnich. This project will gather elders together to speak Denak’i, and document the stories, songs, knowledge and insights they share. Nikolai has listed language as a high priority among their community goals.

Northway: This project will support weekly language instruction and materials for grades K-5 at the Walter Northway School. Instructor Lorraine Titus will teach language through songs and dances of the Northway Tribe. Lorraine also offers cultural nights, an annual summer camp, and other events during the school year. “This project is just a part of the bigger effort to support continued teaching of the Northway language,” said Tribal Administrator Nichol Rallo.

Rampart: The communities of Rampart and Tanana will collaborate on a language course at the Rampart Community Hall. The goal is for learners to be able to introduce themselves in Denaakk’e, and learn common greetings and traditional place names. Each learner will also make a book of nouns and verbs. Learners will be able to use the content in different combinations to create new and complete sentences.

Each of the projects also include plans to document language through the use of audio and video recordings, and some grant recipients will be posting their work online and social media. Watch the Foundation website, www.doyonfoundation.com, and Facebook page, www.facebook.com/doyonfoundation, for updates on the projects as they progress.

“There were many fine proposals this year, and the selection committee regrets that we cannot fund them all,” said Allan Hayton, Foundation language revitalization program director. “It is encouraging to see the range of proposals and the various activities planned to revitalize ancestral languages across the region. Doyon Foundation commends everyone for their commitment to the future of our languages, and encourages continued planning, and creative thinking for how we will continue our languages into the future.”

For more information on the grants or Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program, please visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact Allan Hayton at haytona@doyon.com or 907.459.2162.