Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on supporting language learning through schools, community

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Talk is second in a series of Native language lectures

February 7, 2020


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

The lecture, Engaging Schools to Support the Local Community Expectations for Language Learning, will be given by Patrick Werito, coordinator of tribal initiatives for dual language education of New Mexico.

Werito’s 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,” Werito wrote.

As coordinator of tribal initiatives for dual language education, he supports and works with tribal partner community schools to strengthen their Indigenous language programs and reframe how tribal communities approach teaching their language in a school context for the next generation of speakers. He received a B.A. degree in Southwest studies from Fort Lewis College and a M.A. degree in educational leadership from New Mexico Highlands University.

The lecture is scheduled 5 pm, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 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.

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,