Allan Hayton, Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program director, had the honor of speaking at the invitation-only TEDxFairbanks 2016, which took place in Fairbanks in February. The video of his presentation is now available online – watch it here!TEDx YouTube.jpeg

“Despite years of experience in front of audiences as an actor and storyteller, this TEDx talk was an intimidating and nerve-wracking challenge. I am grateful for the supportive and encouraging circle of friends in the Morris Thompson Cultural Center that day,” Hayton said.

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. In his talk, titled Intimate Space: Athabascan Language, Land, Culture, Hayton discussed how the Athabascan languages of Alaska have developed over centuries in intimate conversation with the natural world.

“Most of all I wanted to convey the story of our ancestral languages, and hopefully inspire others to become involved in learning and teaching them,” Hayton said.

For more information on Doyon Foundation and the language revitalization program, visit www.doyonfoundation.com. Find the video of Hayton’s TEDx talk on YouTube.

 

Allan Hayton, Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program director, spoke recently at the invitation-only TEDxFairbanks 2016. The event, which was the first TEDx event to be held in Fairbanks, took place February 21 at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center Theater, and was also web-streamed live around the world. View photos of the event.Hayton at TEXx 2

“It is an honor, and a great opportunity (to speak at the event),” Hayton said. “I think we all have important stories to share, and so I feel privileged to share some small part of my journey.”

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” and supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community.

In his talk, titled Intimate Space: Athabascan Language, Land, Culture, Hayton discussed how the Athabascan languages of Alaska have developed over centuries in intimate conversation with the natural world.

“Each Athabascan language is a linguistic landscape: the sounds tł’, ts’, shr, a rustle of leaves; ghw, k’, t’, the feel of the earth beneath the feet; aii, oo, uu, branches growing towards the sun,” Hayton explained.

“Athabascan language, stories, beliefs and knowledge passed down for generations are intertwined with the land, representing a living, breathing life force. We must reconnect the broken ties with the land and our languages for healing and revitalization to begin,” he added.

Hayton said he enjoyed the other TEDx speakers, whose topics ranged from sparking innovation and reintegrating the arts, humanities and sciences, to social justice, art, and climate change.

“The genius and beauty of the TED series is that it’s about sharing ideas and inspiration from many different points of view,” Hayton remarked.

As the director of Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program, Hayton believes it helps to speak publicly and share the story of language revitalization.

“A general audience doesn’t spend much time thinking about language revitalization, and why it is important,” he said. “I speak about language revitalization from my experiences within my own life. It helps to put a personal spin on such a large topic; people are better able to understand and relate from a human perspective.”

Hayton’s passion for language revitalization stems from time spent with elders during his youth in Arctic Village. “‘Diiginjik k’yaa riheeł’ee … We hold our language in high regard.’ I heard this expression many times from elders as I was growing up,” he shared. “They impressed it upon us younger people, and held us responsible for speaking and passing on the language. I still hear their voices in my memory, and I have to honor their wishes as best I can.”

For more information on Doyon Foundation and the language revitalization program, visit www.doyonfoundation.com. For more information on TEDxFairbanks, visit www.ted.com/tedx.

Allan Hayton, Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program director, has been selected to speak at TEDxFairbanks 2016, which is the first Tedx event to be held in Fairbanks.Hayton, Allan

The event will take place on Sunday, February 21 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center Theater at 101 Dunkel St. in Fairbanks.

Parameters set by the official TED conference limit attendance to 100, and individuals interested in attending must pre-register. Tickets to the event will be $20.

The TEDx Fairbanks event will also be livestreamed; please watch for details on how to log on. Viewers can also watch the event at The Hub downtown and the Wood Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Following the event, the talks will be edited and posted on YouTube.

Organizers provide the following description of the event: “Fairbanks is an intimate space. Not only are we literally in the heart of Interior Alaska; we are a cultural, social, political, and economic hub for many smaller communities throughout the state. Fairbanks – and to a larger extent, Alaska – is not an easy place to live, yet we still call this place home. In our first TEDx Fairbanks event we will explore what it means to have an intimate space. We will explore the value of a strong and resilient community built on good communication and respect for one another.”

In his talk, titled Intimate Space: Athabascan Language, Land, Culture, Hayton will discuss how the “Athabascan languages of Alaska are connected to the land, developed over centuries in intimate conversation with the natural world” and how “We must reconnect the broken ties with the land and our languages for healing and revitalization to begin.”

“Athabascan languages in Alaska are all severely to critically endangered,” Hayton said. “There are many challenges to endangered languages besides the dwindling number of speakers; there are also attitudes towards the languages that have to be shifted if we are to begin revitalization of our languages.”

TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks, which are limited to 18 minutes or less. TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. TEDx was created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading.” It supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community.

For more information on Doyon Foundation and the language revitalization program, visit www.doyonfoundation.com. For more information on TEDxFairbanks, visit www.ted.com/tedx.