UAS will host a language panel on Indigenous Peoples Day

Culture Bearer Daaljíni Cruise tells Juneau sophomores a traditional Alaska Native story during a field trip to the Walter Sobeloff Building on Nov. 16, 2017. (Photo by Adelyn Baxter/KTOO)


Monday is Indigenous Peoples Day.

University of Alaska Southeast Hosts Panel on Language Revitalization Efforts for Three Southeast Alaska Native Languages, According to Professor UAS Lingít X‘unei Lance Twitchell.

“One of the most indigenous things is the language that was born on this land,” Twitchell said. “And that was maintained and allowed the ancestors to survive, and that was a gift that we could give to future generations.”

Often, the language discussion serves as both a celebration of Indigenous identity and a reflection on the damage done to Indigenous languages, he said.

“As we talk about language revitalization, we also look at some of the most damaging elements of colonization and attempted genocide,” Twitchell said.

Featured speakers are Jaskwaan from the Haida language community, Daaljíni from the Lingít language community, and Alex Roehl from the Juneau Sm’algyax group of learners.

“Which is exciting because these are growing language movements, and so there are multiple people to choose from,” Twitchell said. “They will just share their views on what is happening and what is changing.”

Speakers will give updates on the current status of language revitalization for all three languages, as well as what they think the future of languages ​​will be.

The discussion can be joined via Zoom here.

Also on Monday, the Sealaska Heritage Institute is offering free admission to the Shuká Hít Clan House and Jury Art Exhibit for Indigenous Peoples Day

In 2015, Alaska was the second state to designate Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October to replace Columbus Day, after South Dakota. In 2021, the day was nationally recognized by the Biden administration.

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