Doyon Foundation hosted a virtual gathering in late September to mark the conclusion of our Doyon Languages Online II project, and acknowledge and express gratitude to the individuals involved in making it possible.
This phase of the Doyon Languages Online project involved creation of online language-learning courses for the endangered Doyon region languages of Deg Xinag, Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Hän, and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana). After nearly four years of dedicated effort, these courses are in the final stages of testing.
Once complete, the courses in Deg Xinag, Dihthaad Xt’een Iin Aanděeg’ (Tanacross), Dinak’i (Upper Kuskokwim), Hän, and Nee’aanèegn’ (Upper Tanana) will join previously released Doyon Languages Online courses in Benhti Kokhut’ana Kenaga’ (Lower Tanana), Denaakk’e (Koyukon), Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa (Gwich’in), and Holikachuk. Doyon Languages Online courses are available at no cost to all interested language learners, who can sign up and access the lessons for free at www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo.
The virtual gathering, which took place September 25, 2021, via Zoom, opened with a welcome by Allan Hayton, director of Doyon Foundation’s language revitalization program.
“We wanted to gather as many of us as possible who worked on this project over the past several years, and say dogidinh, tsín’ęę, tsen’anh, mähsi’, tsen’įį, thank you for doing your utmost to document and share these languages for future generations and for people who want to learn right now,” Allan said.
“We are in very challenging times right now, but despite everything, your commitment has remained for this project, for your languages, for teaching, so these languages aren’t forgotten and will be available in the future.”– Allan Hayton, language revitalization program director
Participants, including Elders, linguistic consultants and content creators, then shared stories about their experience with the Doyon Languages Online project.
“It’s been such a beautiful reawakening of my identity. I really enjoyed getting to re-learn my language and to share as I went along. It’s been fun and I will continue to help just as long as you need me. Thank you for this moment.”– Irene Arnold, Doyon Languages Online content creator
“I love speaking in my language. I had the best time ever. We laughed every single day. It was the most beautiful, special time. I’d like to say thank you to the language program. It was the joy of my life to be part of it.”– Rose Benson, Doyon Languages Online content creator
“It is so important to have this because our language and our Elders are leaving us. I’d love to see this program keep going. I’m happy to be here, helping and encouraging.”– Verna Hagen, Doyon Languages Online content creator
Gathering participants also shared encouragement and ideas to continue forwarding language revitalization.
“Learning a language can’t be a once-a-week, every-now-and-then thing. To learn it and retain it, it has to be taught daily, and the younger you are, the better.”– Rose Benson
She also encouraged people to use their Native language at any type of gathering. “When you say it repeatedly, you catch on,” she said.
“I would like to see this program go forward, with more participants and in the schools so more children can learn. If you don’t use your language, you forget. But you can pick back up again.”– Verna Hagen
“Keep pushing. There are children out there who are willing to learn. We just have to find them.”– Ruth Johnny, Upper Tanana language teacher
Doyon Foundation thanks all of the individuals and organizations who played a role in the development of these Doyon Languages Online courses, including:
We appreciate every single individual who has been involved with this project along the way. If we inadvertently missed a name in our thank you list, please get in touch so we can recognize them as well.
If you or someone you know would like to learn a Native language of the Doyon region, we encourage you to learn more and sign up to access the free Doyon Languages Online courses at www.doyonfoundation.com/dlo. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907.459.2048.