Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI to sponsor first language lecture of a series on Wednesday

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Program to feature scholars, professionals working in the field

January 13, 2020


Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a language lecture on Wednesday that is part of a new series of talks aimed at sharing teaching techniques and connecting language professionals working to perpetuate Native languages.

In his talk, Shifting Value Systems: Indigenous Language Revitalization Strategies, Tlingit language professor X’unei Lance Twitchell will examine 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,” Twitchell wrote.

The lecture is scheduled 5 pm, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 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 Twitchell, also known by the Tlingit names X̱’unei, Du Aaní Kawdinook, & Yoo Kaawajígi Yéil, and the Haida name Ḵ’eijáakw, is from Tlingit, Haida, and Yupik Native nations. He lives in Juneau with his family and is an associate professor of Alaska Native Languages at the University of Alaska Southeast. He received his B.A. in English with a minor in American Indian studies from the University of Minnesota, an MFA in creative writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and his Ph.D. in Hawaiian and Indigenous language and culture revitalization at the Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, University of Hawaii in Hilo. He is a speaker and teacher of the Tlingit language and a language revitalization activist.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,