Supporters cheer Alaska Native languages bill

From KTOO, here. An excerpt:

The Barnes Committee Room at the Alaska Capitol erupted in cheers Tuesday morning, as a panel of lawmakers unanimously moved a bill that would make 20 Alaska Native languages official state languages.

Dozens of people testified in favor of the measure, House Bill 216.

University of Alaska Southeast Native Languages Professor Lance Twitchell greeted the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee in Tlingit.

While English is the only official language of Alaska, Twitchell said this is not an English-only state.

“For over 10,000 years there have been other languages here, and they are still here today,” Twitchell said.

He described a crisis point in the effort to save Native languages. The average Alaska Native tongue has fewer than 1,000 speakers, the vast majority of whom are over the age of 70. The last fluent speakers of Eyak and Holikachuk Athabascan died within past decade.

ICT: Running for Native Youth

A good piece on UNITY and Mary Kim Titla, here. An excerpt:

As my feet hit the pavement mile after mile in Phoenix, Scottsdale and then Tempe, Arizona last month while running the P.F. Chang’s Rock and Roll Marathon, I thought of “T” and “G.” “T”, an 18-year-old Apache/African American woman, was raised in a foster home. Her wrists tell a sad tale, desecrated from years of cutting, a form of self-injury. “T” responded to years of bullying by getting into fights and landed in and out of juvenile jail.

“Girls threw trash at me and called me names,” she said when I last saw her. She appeared happy at a ceremony last year where she received a certificate for completing a unit toward obtaining a GED Her older foster brother sat in the audience grinning from ear to ear. They later posed for pictures. “T” let me take a photo of her arms when I promised not to reveal her name.


SCIA: Oversight Hearing to receive testimony on “Early Childhood Development and Education in Indian Country: Building a Foundation for Academic Success.”

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will be having an oversight hearing on “Early Childhood Development and Education in Indian Country: Building a Foundation for Academic Success” on February 26, 2014, at 2:30 p.m. EST.  More information here and here.

Sen. Jon Tester: Education builds foundation for Indian Country

From, here. An excerpt:

Living in Montana, you’re never too far from Indian Country. But I live closer than most. Right down the road from my farm in Big Sandy is the Rocky Boys Reservation, home to the Chippewa-Cree Tribe. Standing up for Indian Country is a responsibility I never take lightly. That’s why, earlier this month, I stepped forward to become the Chairman of the U.S. Senate’s Indian Affairs Committee.

 Leading the Indian Affairs Committee will give me new opportunities to work with tribes to improve the quality of life for Montana’s – and America’s – Indian Country.New opportunities to empower tribes. To help strengthen tribal economies. And to push for new policies that help our kids and grandkids reach new heights. 

I recently spoke to the National Congress of American Indians. In my address, I discussed many issues facing Indian Country, but I highlighted one area in particular where we can work together to build a strong foundation for our kids and grandkids. Education.



Bemidji State to build teleconference system with regional tribal colleges

From Mille Lacs Messenger, here. A quote:

 A Bemidji State University-led consortium of higher education institutions has won a $500,000 grant from the U. S. Department of Agriculture to expand distance learning and telemedicine opportunities for rural northern Minnesota residents.

The grant will allow schools in the BSU-led Aazhoogan (Bridge) Consortium, which includes Northwest Technical College, Leech Lake Tribal College, Red Lake Nation College and White Earth Tribal and Community College, to build a network of high-definition video connections linking the five institutions. The Native colleges currently have no existing or functioning interactive distance learning equipment. The network will give students on those campuses access to industry-driven certification training, bachelor’s degrees and specialized associate’s degrees not available at their home colleges.