Haa Yoo X'atángi Deiyí: Our Language Pathway
Sealaska Heritage is offering a new program to fund Alaska Native students who want to learn their heritage language for the purpose of teaching it to others.
The program, Haa Yoo X'atángi Deiyí: Our Language Pathway, will provide full scholarships to 16 heritage language scholars enrolled at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) who are taking classes in Lingít Yoo X'atángi (Tlingit language), Xaad Kíl (Haida language), or Sm’algyax (Tsimshian language). Scholarships include room, board and tuition.
Students must enroll now at UAS for the 2020 spring semester or later for a degree program starting in the summer or fall. Students may enroll online at uas.alaska.edu. For help, contact the UAS Registrar’s office at 907.796.6100 or email@example.com.
The deadline to apply for scholarships under the language pathway program is January 6.
No experience is required to apply, and the program is open to new and current UAS students. In addition to course work, this three-year program will include part-time employment involving work in the scholars’ heritage languages and internships.
Language Lecture Series
Sealaska Heritage will sponsor a free lecture series on Indigenous language revitalization efforts, presented by scholars and professionals working in the field. The goal is to share teaching techniques more broadly and to connect language professionals working to perpetuate Native languages.
The series will feature the following speakers:
Wednesday, Jan. 15
- X’unei Lance Twitchell
Shifting Value Systems: Indigenous Language Revitalization Strategies — This presentation examines the fundamental value shifts that Indigenous populations experience when their language becomes endangered. In order to bring a language back to strength, the value system of individuals, families, organizations, communities, and governments must be re-centered in the Indigenous thought world.
Thursday, Jan. 30
- Trisha Moquino
An Intergenerational Approach to the Keres Language of Cochiti Pueblo
Monday, Feb. 3
- William Pila Wilson and Kauanoe Kamana
The ‘Aha Punana Leo Approach To Hawaiian Language Revitalization — The non-profit ʻAha Pūnana Leo is credited with beginning and sustaining the current Hawaiian language revitalization movement. When the movement began, full proficiency in Hawaiian was restricted to those born before 1920 and to a small population of 200 on a remote island. There were less than 50 children under 18 able to speak the language fluently. Today nearly 4,000 children are enrolled in schooling through Hawaiian and the language is the most widely reported non-English home language of children in the state. ʻAha Pūnana Leo President Kauanoe Kamanā and William Wilson will describe how the organization moved forward to reach the current level of language vitality. Included in that description will be the role of networking with other Native peoples, including Alaska Natives, in assuring programmatic success.
Wednesday, Feb. 12
- Patrick Werito
Engaging Schools to Support the Local Community Expectations for Language Learning — This presentation will provide an overview of how other Indigenous communities have changed their perception of language use and engaged in an approach that affirms and renews an appreciation of their language within the community. This renewed appreciation becomes the blueprint for schools to adopt and validate the community’s expectations for language learning and help move the pendulum towards schools supporting the indigenous communities’ objectives.
All lectures will begin at 5 pm in the clan house at SHI’s Walter Soboleff Building, 105 S. Seward St. in Juneau. The lectures will be videotaped and posted on SHI’s YouTube channel. Presenters will also be interviewed for a podcast which will be posted after the lectures.
Lance X’unei Twitchell grew up in Skagway and now lives in Juneau. He is of Tlingit, Haida and Yup’ik heritage and carries the Tlingit names X’unei and Du Aani Kawdinook and the Haida name K’eijáakw.
Twitchell is an Associate Professor of Alaska Native Languages at the University of Alaska Southeast and has been teaching the Tlingit language since 2004. He received his Ph.D. in Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization at Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo in 2018. His studies are in creating safe language acquisition spaces and achieving revitalization through counterhegemonic transformation, which means a rejection of external definitions and fragmentation and a promotion of the thought world of the ancestors of language movements. He recently completed a Tlingit language workbook based on the teachings of Richard and Nora Dauenhauer, scheduled for release through Sealaska Heritage in early 2017. His grandfather, Silas Dennis Sr. of Skagway, was his first teacher.
Gavin Hudson was born and raised in Metlakatla. He graduated from college in Seattle in 1998 and moved back home in 2010. His Tsimshian name is Huk Tgini’its’ga Xsgiik and he is a member of the Laxsgiik Eagle Clan.
Hudson is one of three founders of the Haayk Foundation, along with David R. Boxley and Kandi McGilton. The nonprofit’s mission is to preserve, promote and revitalize Sm'algyax, Ayaawx (traditional Tsimshian values and protocol), Adaawx (true history), and Luulgyit (validating cultural practice) in order to cultivate a positive and healthy identity for the people of Metlakatla. Although he is not yet a fluent speaker, Hudson has logged hundreds of hours working with fluent speakers and is proficient in reading, writing, and transcription in Sm'algyax.
In 2016, as Project Coordinator for the Tsimshian Education Achievement Model grant project, Hudson helped to create the Wap Lip Algya̱g̱m House of Our Language 0-3 Years Sm'algyax Curriculum. Hudson is also a Tribal/City Councilman at Metlakatla Indian Community.
Benjamin Young was raised in Hydaburg and now lives in Ketchikan. His Haida name is K’uyáang. He is a Raven of the Yahgw’láanaas Clan.
Young learned X̱aad Kíl from his grandfather, Claude Morrison Kúng Skíis, a respected Haida elder who lived to the age of 100. As a teenager, Young taught his first language classes at SHI’s Latseen Leadership Academy. Through other language projects and programs, Young has worked with elders Woodrow Morrison, Alma Cook, Annie Peele, and Erma Lawrence.
Over the years he has also been influenced by linguist Dr. Jordan Lachler and Gwich'in instructor Hishinlai' Peter.
Young graduated from Butler University with a degree in secondary education and began teaching in 2014. He has had many additional roles in language revitalization such as language mentor, researcher, and curriculum developer. Young has also served as a cultural specialist with SHI, the Xaadas Kíl Kuyaas Foundation, and the Ketchikan Indian Community, among other organizations.