Council Urges Self-Determination in Alaska Native Language Survival
January 12, 2018
“Self-determination, in this context, is the language community being in full control of the future of their language. It has to be a basic principal that language programs don’t wait for things to happen; they make them happen,” said X’unei Lance Twitchell, ANLPAC Vice Chair.
Key themes in the 2018 report are
Although all Alaska Native languages are recognized as official languages of the State of Alaska, every one has seen a decline in the number of speakers over the last several decades. While the declines continue, there are some noteworthy successes in which English-only Alaskans have become fluent in one of Alaska’s Native languages, either as students in a language immersion school or by working individually in a master-apprentice relationship with a fluent elder. These new, fluent, second-language speakers spark new hope for Alaska’s threatened and endangered Native languages - particularly as some are now raising their children as first- language speakers.
Created by the Alaska Legislature in 2012, the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council (ANLPAC) oversees research and provides recommendations to the governor and legislature on programs, policies, and projects that can promote the continued survival of Alaska’s Indigenous languages.
The Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council (ANLPAC) meets regularly via audioconference and invites participation from the public. The governor appoints to the council five voting members who are professional language experts and who represent diverse regions of the state. In addition, one member of the Alaska Senate and one member of the Alaska House of Representatives serve on the council as nonvoting members.
The biennial report is required by AS 44.33.520(b)(3). While the Alaska Division of Community and Regional Affairs provides staff to support the council, the report does not constitute an official position or opinion of the division.
There will be one opening on the Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council, to be filled by appointment by the Governor, on or before August 20th, 2018. ANLPAC members serve as volunteers and represent all Alaska Native languages, not only their own. For the best opportunity to be considered for this appointment, apply before the end of July.
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Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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