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.