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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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The Alutiiq Museum just received its third National Science Foundation Documenting Endangered Languages (DEL) grant.  This new three-year archives improvement project will increase access to Alutiiq language recordings for both researchers and community members.  We named the project Naken-Natmen, “Where from-Where to,” in recognition of its dual purpose ¾to evaluate and protect language recordings collected in the past, and to plan for additional recordings needed to preserve the Alutiiq language.

Dr. April Counceller and Dr. Alisha Drabek will co-lead the project, in collaboration with a new project manager, a graduate student intern, and Elders.  Michael “Nanit’sqaq” Bach joined the Alutiiq Museum crew on May 19 to serve as Language Archives Specialist and project manager.  Bach earned his B.A. in Languages and International Studies, at the College of St. Scholastica and his M.A. in Northern Studies from University of Alaska Fairbanks this May, 2014.  Bach is now an Intermediate fluent Alutiiq speaker and has extensive experience working with archival resources at both the Afognak Tribal Library and the University of Alaska Fairbanks archives.  He will complete digital transfer of audio and video recordings, develop the archive catalog, produce finding aids, and assist in fieldwork and outreach activities.

The growing archive of Alutiiq language recordings at the Alutiiq Museum are challenging to access.  As part of this new project, we will create an online Alutiiq Language Archive Database, cross-referenced with the Alaska Native Language Archive (ANLA), and an Alutiiq Speaker Registry with biographic profiles and recorded samples.  The project will serve as the backbone for the next phase of Alutiiq language revitalization.

Photo:  Michael Bach, Alutiiq Language Archives Specialist

 
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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.