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Alaska Declares Emergency for Native American Languages
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=22014"><span class="small">Associated Press</span></a>   
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 13:03

Excerpt: "Alaska has declared an emergency for Native American languages, aiming to promote and preserve all 20 recognized indigenous tongues in the state before they die out."

Native languages were traditionally not written down but are now being hurriedly recorded and archived. (photo: The Alaska Native Heritage Center)
Native languages were traditionally not written down but are now being hurriedly recorded and archived. (photo: The Alaska Native Heritage Center)


Alaska Declares Emergency for Native American Languages

By Associated Press

26 September 18


Governor Bill Walker aims to promote and preserve all 20 recognized indigenous tongues in the state before they die out

laska has declared an emergency for Native American languages, aiming to promote and preserve all 20 recognized indigenous tongues in the state before they die out.

The order signed this week by the state governor, Bill Walker, directs the state education commissioner to work with partners to promote indigenous languages in public education, KTOO Public Media in Juneau reported.

It also directs the state to use traditional Alaska Native place names on public signs. The order instructs state commissioners to designate a tribal liaison tasked with producing a plan to boost collaboration with Alaska Native partners.

The governor’s order was prompted by a report this year by the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council, warning that the languages could become extinct by the century’s end. The state legislature had passed a resolution in April urging the governor to make such a declaration.

“You know there’s not a lot of times I stand up in front of a microphone and thank the legislature, and I certainly do on this,” the independent governor said on Sunday while signing the order in Juneau with a gathering of language advocates from across the state.

Walker acknowledged the state’s role in undermining and discouraging the use of indigenous languages generations ago.

“I know we need to celebrate where we are but, boy, if you don’t reflect on where you’ve been, it really is only part of the discussion, part of the celebration,” Walker said.

Of the several Alaska Native representatives at the signing was Richard Peterson, president of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes. He said he hopes the order will aid communities in reconnecting with their culture in meaningful ways.

The mainstream movement to preserve dwindling languages began in the 1960s. Alaska became the 49th US state in 1959. Native languages were traditionally not written down but are now being hurriedly recorded and archived.

Most of the 20 languages belong to one of two large language families, known as Inuit-Yupik-Unanga, or Eskimo-Aleut, and Athabaskan-Eyak-Tinglit.

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+2 # Robbee 2018-09-27 07:56
Alaska Declares Emergency for Native American Languages
By Associated Press
26 September 18

O U T S T A N D I N G !