Email Broadcast

All things Alutiiq via email.

catchme refresh




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

Join the discussion!  Alutiiq Language Speakers & Learners Facebook page.


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.


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

FamilySmIn communities across the world, people connect to each other by discovering shared places and relationships. Asking Kinkut ilaten? (Who is your family?) helps us to identify the fibers that connect us and to build networks among families, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances.

This semester, Alutiiq language teachers Candace Branson and Michael Bach are exploring the theme of connection with their high school classes. Eighteen students are considering the question Kinkut ilaten? and learning Alutiiq vocabulary associated with people. By the end of the quarter, each student will be able to describe their family tree in Alutiiq. They will be able to discuss where their families are from, where their parents or grandparents were born, and where they live now. More advanced students, those in their second or third year of Alutiiq instruction, will be able to expand this description with information on family members' ages and attributes.

Teaching students to introduce themselves in Alutiiq is empowering. Teens are learning to place themselves within a broader community network and to introduce themselves appropriately to Elders. Detailed introductions help Elders to identify each student as somebody's child, grandchild, niece, or nephew, and connect them to a network of acquaintances and relations.

The amount of vocabulary and grammar needed to properly introduce oneself in Alutiiq is daunting to some students. To familiarize students with useful terms, Branson and Bach use a word find puzzle. This puzzle appears on the facing page. We challenge you to search out the words that you may already know, or familiarize yourself with terms for family members by completing the puzzle. When you've completed the puzzle, try describing your own family tree. You can learn more about introducing yourself in Alutiiq on the lessons page at

Photo: Alokli Family, from left Lezon Alokli, Axenia Alokli, Nick Alokli (child), Dave Peterson, Matrona Peterson (seated). AM550:10 courtesy Nick Alokli.


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

5UluWThe Alutiiq Word of the Week, our popular weekly lessons on all things Alutiiq, entered its seventeenth season in June. Each year we develop new lessons, studying and sharing traditions via the radio, newspaper, and Internet. In addition to fresh content, season 17 brings new voices, new features, and even a new look. The updated program reflects the expansion of the museum capabilities and very generous support from the Kodiak Island Borough.

Michael Bach, the show's new producer and an Alutiiq language archivist for the museum explained. "The word of the week will continue to air three times a week on KMXT Public Radio with the familiar voices of Nick Alokli and Sophie Shepherd speaking in Alutiiq. However, Marya Halvorsen, the museum's Heritage Education Specialist, is now the English voice of the program, taking over for long time host April Laktonen Counceller. The show also has a new introduction featuring singing and drumming by Kodiak Alutiiq dancers and Alutiiq language instructors."

The seventeenth season also offers greater opportunities to access Alutiiq language information, through a podcast hosted by Bach. Visit the iTunes store or the Museum's website to hear the weekly lesson followed by additional content with language revitalization news, stories, and events.

Recent podcasts featured Karen Weinberg of Ten Trees productions speaking with Bach, about her documentary film on Alutiiq language preservation efforts. Julie Fine, a student of linguistics from Stanford University shared her experience learning Alutiiq. And Sue Mitchel, a Fairbanks copyeditor, tells about her experiences with the word pakuk, which means to borrow without intent to return!
As always our website is updated every Sunday with the week's lesson. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we now post Word of the Week to share.  To have the Word of the Week emailed, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and he'll set you up!

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.