October 17 at Elders & Youth Conference

 

Planning to be at AFN? If so, don’t miss Doyon Foundation’s “Taking Language Revitalization Online – Using GIFs to Get the Word Out” workshop during the First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference on Tuesday, October 17 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage. We are currently on the schedule for 3:45 p.m., but please check the daily schedule for current details on time and location.

edzooThe workshop will introduce Doyon Languages Online (DLO), a project to create and publish introductory language lessons for Native languages of the Doyon region. FAI summer intern, Diloola Erickson, will share her experience creating media content for DLO using Native GIFs. During the workshop, we will create a GIF live with youth participants’ ideas and Elders’ leadership. We will also brainstorm other forms of social media that could be used to get people excited and engaged with language revitalization.

This fun workshop is ideal for anyone interested in social media, language revitalization, youth engagement, and those with a good sense of humor. We hope you’ll join us!

Learn more about Doyon Foundation and Doyon Languages Online on our website, www.doyonfoundation.com, or contact Allan Hayton at haytona@doyon.com or 907.459.2162.

By Allan Hayton

Doyon Foundation Language Revitalization Program Director

Evan Gardner and Susannah Ciotti returned to Fairbanks for a month-long series of Where Are Your Keys (WAYK) workshops, hosted by Doyon Foundation in January. The WAYK system is a comprehensive method for revitalizing endangered languages and skills.

Athabascan languages, as with all Alaska Native languages, are endangered, some with only a handful of speakers. As we are losing more and more first language Athabascan speakers, it is important to find engaging ways for young learners to begin picking up the languages.

WAYK is a fun method for beginning learners, using sign language to avoid the use of English in the learning setting. Many of the signs, or techniques, such as “angel on your shoulder,” “mumble,” “slow down,” and “again” are geared toward beginning learners and the challenges they face. WAYK trainings give a good picture of what language revitalization looks and feels like by bringing together elders and speakers with new learners. It is always a great experience seeing people light up when they learn something new about their language.

Day-long refresher/introduction workshops were held focusing in on three languages: Gwich’in (January 2 in Fairbanks); Lower Tanana (January 16 in Fairbanks); and Upper Tanana (January 23 in Northway). Following the workshops were daily classes in each of the three languages. There were also participants from other Athabascan languages, as well as Ahtna and Alutiiq languages. Doyon Foundation assisted Grant Rebne gather 14 Ahtna Language Learners (ALL) for a language workshop. Providing the space is a great way for Doyon Foundation to help out another language revitalization effort.

The January 2 workshop was a great success, and in the follow-up sessions Evan and Susannah worked closely with Effie Kokrine Charter School language instructor Kenneth Frank on employing WAYK in his classroom. They also visited the Diiginjik K’yaa Ch’atoh Language Nest and Lower Tanana sessions with Sarah Silas at Denakkanaaga’, providing community organizing tips for each of the sites and language events they visited.

The month of WAYK workshops brought together the key teachers and perpetuators of culture and language learning in their communities, and there were many highlights. I was especially moved to see the people of Nenana and Minto coming together in the January 16 Lower Tanana workshop. It was also great having Lower Tanana and Gwich’in groups meeting together as one before dividing into focused language learning groups. This was also the first time Doyon Foundation has held a WAYK training in a rural community, Northway. In addition to the sessions at the Youth Center, WAYK was brought to the school where young students were led on “language learning walks” through the school.

It was a very good month, and we are happy for all those who attended. It is their participation that made this series of WAYK workshops a great success. Photos from the January workshops have been posted to the Doyon Foundation Facebook Page.

The staff of Doyon Foundation worked as a team on the 2016 WAYK series of language learning and teaching workshops. I would like to express my gratitude to the staff for their assistance on promotion, making phone calls, sending emails, organizing, making moose soup, and sacrificing a couple of Saturdays for these workshops.

Mahsi’ choo ts’a’ gwiinzii adak’ohtii, thank you and take care.

Doyon Foundation will host two free language-learning workshops in Fairbanks in January. The workshops are based on the Where Are Your Keys (WAYK) technique, which is one of the most rapid and effective tools for learning language. View the flyer or RSVP to attend.

Workshops, which will be held at the Doyon Industrial Facility in the Doyon, Limited meeting room at 701 Bidwell Ave. in Fairbanks, include:

  • January 2, 2016: No Pressure WAYK Refresher, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Class will be focused on the Gwich’in language but open to all. RSVP by December 28.
  • January 16, 2016: No Pressure WAYK Refresher, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Class will be focused on the Lower Tanana language but open to all. RSVP by January 11.

Based on the belief that “By learning, you will teach. By teaching you will learn,” WAYK is appropriate for anyone interested in learning or teaching their Native language, whether a first-time learner or a fluent speaker.

In addition to the one-day workshops, daily sessions will be available after each refresher. In these daily sessions, instructors will give in-depth, hands-on assistance to learners and speakers covering WAYK techniques. It is not required to attend the refresher to attend the daily sessions. See the daily session schedule on the RSVP form.

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. The workshops are offered as part of the Foundation’s language revitalization program, which is working to ensure that current and future generations of Athabascan people have the opportunity to hear, to learn, and to speak the languages of their ancestors.

For more information or to RSVP for the workshops, visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact stickmans@doyon.com or 907.459.2048. To learn more about the Where Are Your Keys language learning and teaching method, visit www.whereareyourkeys.org.