Sealaska Awards Grants to Invigorate Indigenous Language and Culture
Monday, July 27, 2020
JUNEAU, Alaska – On Friday, July 24, 2020, the Sealaska board of directors approved $300,000 in grants to support the revitalization of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian traditional languages. This is the first major investment made possible by the $10 million language endowment that was authorized by the board in November 2019.
“Our indigenous languages hold our people’s ancient ingenuity,” said Chairman Joe (Kaaxúxgu) Nelson. “Language connects, roots and grounds us. We are fortunate to have so many people dedicating their lives to this work and partners helping pull in the same direction.”
One of three approved grants directs funding toward creating fluent language speakers for all three Southeast Alaska indigenous languages: Lingít (Tlingit), Sm’algyax (Tsimshian), and X̱aad Kíl (Haida).
In Alaska, very few birth speakers of these traditional languages remain. All are older than 70, and a majority are 80 or older. The group includes four birth speakers of Sm’algyax, three birth speakers of X̱aad Kíl, and 63 birth speakers of Lingít.
“Supporting and prioritizing advanced second-language learners is critical,” said Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson, president of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. “We have limited time. We must act now to create new, young, adult fluent speakers while the birth-speaking Elders are still with us.”
The second grant will support the audio and video recording of 20 oral narratives from the book, “Haa Shuká, Our Ancestors: Tlingit Oral Narratives” by Nora and Richard Dauenhauer. The recordings will help learners to listen, read and write in Lingít.
“The values perpetuated in these narratives are universal,” said David (Kingeistí) Katzeek, a traditional tribal leader of the Shangukeidí (Thunderbird Clan) for more than 40 years. “The narratives embody the high order of being a human being. One cannot learn Lingít language without learning the values, behavior and character of being Tlingit.”
Benjamin (K’uyáang) Young, 34, grew up in Hydaburg and has committed his life to preserving the X̱aad Kíl (Haida) language. He has served as a language mentor, researcher and curriculum developer.
“Language holds a distinct place at the center of who we are as people,” said Young. “It is the pulse of our future — a continuous reminder that no matter where we roam, our spoken word brings us home.”
The third grant is will support developing curriculum for the community of Hydaburg’s Xaadas Kíl Kuyaas Foundation to continue learning and preserving the X̱aad Kíl language. The curriculum will be developed during an immersion camp and will be used to support language learners into the future.
Sealaska’s $10 million Language Revitalization Fund is expected to generate $500,000 in grants annually to invigorate indigenous languages over the next decade.
We are Sealaska, the Alaska Native regional corporation for Southeast Alaska formed under federal law in 1971. With more than 23,000 shareholders of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian background, our purpose is to strengthen our people, culture and homelands. We invest in and operate businesses that improve the health of our oceans, maintain healthy homelands in Southeast Alaska, and benefit shareholder communities. Learn more at Sealaska.com and https://www.sealaska.com/community/speak.
The Sealaska Board of Directors elevated shareholder Jason Gubatayao to the position of general manager of Haa Aaní, Sealaska’s land-management company, when it met Jan. 20-21. The board also decided to continue holding most Sealaska meetings virtually while pandemic circumstances remain uncertain—including the annual meeting of shareholders on June 25. Haa Aaní is responsible for Sealaska’s land holdings in Southeast Alaska, including many …
Shareholder Opportunities Event: Free Training, Scholarship Info and More for STEM and Technical Career FieldsPosted 1/27/2022
A virtual event for shareholders and descendants on Wednesday, Jan. 26 highlighted several immediate, jobs-ready educational and training opportunities for shareholders at low or no cost. “We’re excited to be providing a wide range of career and training opportunities that align with the lifestyles and preferences of our shareholders,” said Sealaska President and CEO Anthony …
Sealaska shareholders will be able to view and download their IRS Form 1099-DIV for 2021 beginning Monday, Jan. 24. View and download 1099 form on MySealaska.com Monday, Jan. 24 Printed 1099 tax forms will be mailed on or before Jan. 26. Q: Why am I getting a 1099? I thought my distributions were tax free …
Every two years, Sealaska conducts a shareholder survey to identify your priorities. Those priorities are the road map to our public policy work and help guide the shareholder benefits we are grateful to be able to provide through the success of our businesses. In 2021, Sealaska’s board and executive leadership launched what will be a …
As we welcome 2022, we at Sealaska have much to be grateful for. We end the year safe and successful, despite facing continued challenges and disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Sealaska continues to prioritize the health of our employees and deeply appreciates their tireless efforts to maintain COVID precautions while working to achieve business growth and enhance shareholder benefits. We also give thanks to our …