melody-hoffmanMelody Hoffman, daughter of Ronald and Cathleen Hoffman, and granddaughter of Mary Demientieff of Holy Cross, Alaska, has a lot to offer her community. As a mother and Doyon Foundation student, Melody juggles her family commitments with her daily workload at Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) as an operations support staff supervisor in Bethel, Alaska. There, she works with all of the village clinics that YKHC serves in the Yukon-Delta region.

“We are the ‘go-to’ employees for any questions they need to help serve them remotely,” explains Melody.

“My plan is to keep growing with the corporation and to become an advocate for not only our patients, but for our nursing staff too,” says Melody, who balances parenting and a class load at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “I received my acceptance letter from UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) for the next nursing cohort that starts in January 2017 that is offered in Bethel. I plan to work at YKHC until December 2016 and when my nursing classes begin I plan to concentrate solely on my nursing classes and my children.” Melody has two children, Ronald, age 7, and Christian, age 2.

Her biggest challenge while pursuing higher education has been balancing her personal life, work life and educational life. “I have learned to manage my time effectively,” Melody shares. “My main priorities are my family and to succeed in any of my projects that are given to me at work and to work tirelessly on my college classes.”

Doyon Foundation has been an integral part of Melody’s success. “With Doyon Foundation’s support I am able to continue my education without the added stress of finding my own funds to pursue my educational dreams. This really shows that Doyon Foundation cares and supports our shareholders to become successful and to give back to our people. Thank you, Doyon Foundation!”

In addition to pursuing her educational goals and raising a family, Melody also contributes to her community. “I am a graduate from one of the Native management programs offered by YKHC and have moved into a leadership role because of the Alaska Native Development Pillar.”

Melody hopes that her educational achievements will be beneficial to not only her family, but her community as well. “In the end, it will be all worth it and I will be able to give back to my community in being an advocate for our people and to provide and be a great role model to my children.”

She attributes her success to time management and constantly having a source of motivation: her kids and family. “To all the parents out there who have dreams to get a college education, it is possible to raise our kids and work hard to get a college degree,” she says.

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Help Doyon Foundation support students like Melody – Pick. Click. Give. to Doyon Foundation when you fill out your 2017 PFD application!

Doyon Foundation Language Revitalization Program Director Allan Hayton recently gave a plenary talk on Language Revitalization & The Arts at the Institute on Collaborative Language Research (CoLang), an international conference that took place at the University of Alaska Fairbanks June 20 – July 24, 2016.

CoLang is a biennial gathering designed to provide an opportunity for community language activists and linguists to receive training in community-based language documentation and revitalization. The conference consisted of two weeks of intensive language revitalization workshops and presentations, followed by a three-week linguistics field methods practicum in endangered languages.

In his June 28 presentation, available online here, Hayton shared his experiences collaborating on endangered language theatre projects, including a Perseverance Theatre production of Macbeth in the Tlingit language that was presented at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, a Gwich’in adaptation of King Lear (Lear Khehkwaii), and A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Tlingit, Yup’ik and Gwich’in languages (both productions with Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre).

The focus of Hayton’s talk was how the theatre can create a space for endangered languages to come to life, and how the arts can engage the imagination in the language classroom for educators and learners. A future production Hayton is currently dreaming up is a Romeo & Juliet in Gwich’in and Inupiaq languages.

In addition to the many wonderful workshops and presentations at CoLang, Hayton was especially interested in participating in the three-week practicum in linguistic field methods that closed out the conference. Participants could choose from among Hän (Athabascan), Unangam Tunuu (Aleut), or Miyako (Ryukyuan) practica. These practica provided excellent opportunities to sharpen documentation skills, engage with speakers, and make connections with others teaching and revitalizing these endangered languages.

Professor Dr. Willem De Reuse taught the Hän Athabascan practicum, with invaluable assistance from speakers Ruth Ridley, Ethel Beck, Adeline Juneby and Percy Henry. There were also young teachers and learners participating, including Shyanne Beatty from Eagle, and Georgette McLeod, Mary Henry, Angie Joseph-Rear, Melissa Hawkins and Erika Scheffen from Dawson, Yukon Territory. Graduate and undergraduate linguists from several different universities rounded out the class.

Hän is a very close sister language to Gwich’in, Hayton noted. “If you laid the two languages side by side, you would see many similarities,” he said. “But you cannot assume the rules for one language would automatically apply to the other. Each language in the world is unique, and the rules are implicitly decided among the speakers, changing fluidly over time.”

For example, he said, notice the similarities and differences in the translations below:

  • English: The moose walked towards the lake.
  • Hän: Jë̀jùu män ts’ą̈̀’ ä̀haww.
  • Gwich’in: Dinjik van ts’à’ ah’àl.

“It was a great experience in the classroom with the speakers, and everyone learned a great deal that will help in upcoming projects involving Hän, as well as other languages of the Doyon region,” Hayton said.

CoLang 2016 was an inspiring gathering of many different people from around the world, all focused on the work of documenting and revitalizing endangered languages, Hayton said. Endangered language communities face similar challenges, and this gathering allowed attendees to share their ideas, inspirations, solutions and hope with one another.

Hayton said he will take what he learned from his fellows at CoLang, and apply those lessons to work for languages in the Doyon region. “Adak’ohtii, ts’a’ diiginjk k’yaa kwaii eenjit tth’aii nihk’it gwiinzii gwitr’it t’agwahah’yaa yuu,” he said. “Take care, and keep up the good work on behalf of our languages.”

CoLang 2018 will be held at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Doyon Foundation student Christina Edwin is the daughter of Christine Edwin and Greg Hoffman, and the granddaughter of Flora McCoy and Steve Feltch, and Virginia Wells and Donald Hoffman. From Anchorage, Alaska, Christina expects to graduate in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in rural development and a minor in Alaska Native languages from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).Christina Edwin

In the fall Christina will start her junior year at UAF, where she will focus on maintaining a high GPA and return to her role as president of the Native Student Union. “We are a Native student lead club on campus. I look forward to organizing our annual events and amping up our team to build our leadership,” she says.

Christina, who has always dreamt of doing research around community health, will also be working as an undergraduate fellow on a research project partnering with tribes in the Interior on sustainable, traditional and customary hunting, fishing and gathering practices.

Doyon Foundation has “been a great financial support,” Christina says, which has allowed her to continue building her leadership capacity through multiple roles within the UAF Native community and the Alaska Native community at large.

Outside of the classroom Christina enjoys dancing and is a member of the UAF Inu-Yupiaq dancers. She also prioritizes healthy eating, “so I spend mornings and evenings cooking to energize my body and spirit.” She encourages students to take time to do what they love and to set goals for themselves.

However going to school outside of Anchorage has its challenges as well. “I would say one of the most enduring parts of my college career is being away from my family in Anchorage,” Christina says. She spends her breaks reconnecting with family in Anchorage, especially her mom who she says is “the motivation for my success for all that I do.”

Nothing is stopping this junior, who spends most of her time outside of classes and homework organizing educational events as well as nurturing her culture and community’s well-being. “Place yourself amongst people who are go-getters and will support and uplift you in both times of failure and success. Don’t settle for less,” says Christina. “Most of all, remember where you come from and continue to nurture those roots.”

Apply by Thursday, August 4

Doyon Foundation is recruiting Alaska Native high school graduates or GED recipients to apply for a scholarship to attend the 13-week intensive Law Enforcement Academy training program, to be held August 15 – November 11 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Community and Technical College. Completed applications must be received by Thursday, August 4. Download the application packet here.

Completion of the training program will qualify you for employment in the security division of Doyon Universal Services (DUS). We have partnered with DUS, which has offered to pay the fees for items required in the application, including criminal history, drug test, driving record history and fingerprints.

The $7,500 scholarship to attend the training is generously provided by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company Alaska Native Program.

If you or someone you know are interested in a career in law enforcement, please review the eligibility requirements and learn about the application process in the application packet available on our website. Remember that completed applications must be received by Thursday, August 4.

For more information or to request a hard-copy application packet, please call the Foundation at 907.459.2048 or 1.888.478.4755 ext. 2048.

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The Institute on Collaborative Language Research (CoLang) will be held on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2016. The institute is designed to provide an opportunity for community language activists and linguists to receive training in community-based language documentation and revitalization. The Institute has previously been convened in California, Oregon, Kansas, and Texas, and attracts a diverse range of participants from across the globe. Instructors include some of the world’s leading experts in language documentation.

Click here for more information.

Click HERE to view UAF Rural Student Services Reach Out October 2015 e-Newsletter.