Doyon Foundation Receives $977,423 Grant for Language Revitalization
Pictured above: Holy Cross Deg Xinag Language Gathering
Doyon Foundation has received a three-year, $977,423 grant from the U.S. Department of Education – Alaska Native Educational Program to expand its language revitalization efforts through the Doyon Languages Online II project.
Through the project, the Foundation will increase the number of people who speak Nee’anděg’ (Tanacross), Née’aaneegn’ (Upper Tanana), Deg Xinag and Denak’i (Upper Kuskokwim) by creating more than 220 online language-learning lessons, training teachers in the use of the technology through partnerships with the Alaska Gateway and Iditarod school districts, and field testing the lessons with students.
The funding will allow the Foundation to build on the progress of the existing Doyon Languages Online project, which is already in the process of developing online language-learning lessons for five of the Doyon region languages: Holikachuk, Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Benhti Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Hän, and Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in).
“With this new grant, we will be able to produce online learning opportunities for nine of the 10 indigenous languages of the Doyon region,” said Doris Miller, executive director of Doyon Foundation. The nine languages targeted in the two Doyon Languages Online projects currently have little or no online educational materials for those wanting to learn.
Doyon Languages Online is a project of the Foundation’s language revitalization program, and is a partnership with 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that supports endangered language learning partially through software donated by Transparent Language. The Foundation first partnered with 7000 Languages in 2014 to create and provide learning content for the languages of the Doyon region in an accessible, engaging and proven online environment.
The 10 indigenous languages of the Doyon region represent half of the 20 total Alaska Native languages, which were recently made official languages of the state of Alaska. The 10 Doyon region languages are all severely to critically endangered, and are not being passed on to younger generations quickly enough to ensure their survival.
“Every year we are losing more of our Elders and first language speakers,” said Allan Hayton, director of the Foundation’s language revitalization program. “Today there are no villages in the Doyon region where children are learning their ancestral language as their first language.”
“But with this grant funding, combined with the support of our partners, the expertise of our Elders and teachers, and the interest of our people, there is real hope that we will pass on our languages to the next generations,” he said.
For more information on Doyon Foundation and its language revitalization program and Doyon Languages Online project, visit www.doyonfoundation.com or contact Doris Miller, executive director, or Allan Hayton, language revitalization program director, at email@example.com or 907-459-2048.