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Guangkuta litnaurlita Alutiit'stun!  Let's all study Alutiiq!

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Language Program

Scroll down to learn more about our Alutiiq Language programs and projects.

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Our Work

The Qik'rtarmiut Alutiit (Alutiiq People of the Island) language program documents and revitalizes the Kodiak Alutiiq Language.  Working together fluent Alutiiq speakers, Alutiiq language learners, and linguists study Alutiiq, make recordings, create learning materials for all ages, and teach the language to a new generation of speakers.

Photo:  An Alutiiq language lesson.
 

 

Qik Committee

The Qik'rtarmiut Alutiit Regional Language Advisory Committee meets bimonthly to guide these efforts.  This committee includes representatives from Kodiak's Native corporation, tribes, educational organizations, and communities.   To participate, please contact Language Program Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 907-486-7004.

Collaborators

Many Kodiak organizations are working to preserve and share the Alutiiq Language.  The Alutiiq Museum works closely with the Native Village of Afognak, Kodiak College, and the Kodiak Island Borough School District to develop language learning resources, document Alutiiq speech, and teach the language to the next generation.

Photo:  Kathy Nelson studies Alutiiq with her mentor and friend Elder John Pestrikof of Port Lions.



 

Current  Projects

 
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Alutiiq language revitalization has been a focus at the Alutiiq Museum since 2003. After ten years, it is heartening to reflect back on the accomplishments of our Elders, communities, and organizations. Yet, there is so much more to be done. To develop the next steps in language revitalization, we recently cohosted strategic planning sessions with NVA, tribal organizations, and Kodiak College.  Participants from across the Alutiiq nation developed a series of action steps, adopted by the Qik’rtarmiut Alutiit Committee, our regional planning group. Together, we reconfirmed the movement’s mission “To bring back the sound of Alutiiq to the voices of our youth, through the words of our Elders,” and developed overarching strategies to guide efforts:

•  Facilitate and strengthen fluency acquisition for Alutiiq learners and speakers.

•  Grow language education, outreach, and public awareness to support Alutiiq speakers and program efforts.

•  Develop and promote the use of targeted Alutiiq language educational materials.

•  Increase partnerships and communication to strengthen the language movement for a healthy Alutiiq Nation.

•  Celebrate and sustain the many ways of speaking Alutiiq.

To address these goals, the group planned a community engagement campaign for Alutiiq language learning and wellness, an annual symposium to develop partnerships and improve communications, language learning kits built from existing resources, and support for language acquisition outreach that celebrates the many ways of speaking Alutiiq. No one organization can accomplish language revitalization but in partnership and with the commitment of individuals and their families, we are kindling the spark of Alutiiq language in our youth.

These efforts are underfunded. You can show your support by donating to the Alutiiq Language Fund and by participating in community language activities. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss the many ways you can learn Alutiiq, or visit the Alutiiq Language web site or the Alutiiq Museum's language learning web pages.

 
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Want to practice speaking or just explore the possibilities of learning Alutiiq? The Alutiiq Museum hosts Community Language Night every Tuesday from 6:30-8:00 pm.  People of all ages and familiarity with the language are welcomed. This is a great place for beginners of any age to start learning Alutiiq.

At Kodiak Middle School, teens can participate in the Alutiiq Culture Club, an afterschool activity scheduled Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 pm.  Founded by Teri Schneider and Meagan Mickelson at KIBSD, with support from Taletha Gertz of Native Village of Afognak and Marya Halvorsen of the Alutiiq Museum, this program shares cultural activities with youth.  Crafts, field trips, and now language learning games are among the fun activities.  Kodiak High School student can also take an Alutiiq language class.  Led by Candace Branson and Gayla Pedersen, this seminar style, yearlong course focuses on conversational skills and cultural awareness.  And through the Alutiiq Studies program at Kodiak College, Dr. April Laktonen teaches Alutiiq 101, assisted by Candace Branson, as well as many other Alutiiq Studies courses and services.

Every Thursday morning some of Kodiak’s youngest residents gather at the Native Village of Afognak.  From 8:30 – 9:30 am, children under age three participate in Wamlita, an hour of games, songs, and activities that feature the Alutiiq language.  Led by Marya Halvorsen, Alisha Drabek, and Lynda Lorenson, this weekly class for infants and toddlers is just one of the growing number of accessible, fun, and effective opportunities to learn the Alutiiq language.

Other partner language outreach: Susie and Denise Malutin, through NVA, teach Alutiiq crafts and songs in their After School Program, where students can learn some Alutiiq too. NVA is now piloting Preschool and Kindergarten language lesson outreach into public schools, led by Lynda Lorensen and Sean Hales. This summer at Dig Afognak kids can enroll in an Alutiiq Language and Dance Camp at the end of July 2014. In Anchorage there is also a growing movement to learn Alutiiq led by John Yakanak and Misty Gardner in partnership with NVA, the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Alaska Pacific University.

All of these opportunities reflect the gifts, commitments and collaboration of community organizations, such as the Native Village of Afognak’s Teacher Mentorship Project through a grant from Administration for Native Americans (ANA) Grant # 90NL0530-01-00, the Afognak Native Corporation, the Alutiiq Heritage Foundation, Kodiak College, the Kodiak Island Borough School District, and Natives of Kodiak, Inc.

Photo:  An Alutiiq language lesson underway.