Our new language program is funded by two grants from the Administration for Native Americans.
In 2021-2022 we surveyed tribal members to see their readiness for a language program. The one year grant included documenting our local language resources. We cataloged local and regional resources, are now completing a strategic plan for local language revitalization.
In 2022-2025 we will be implementing our first steps towards language revitalization with the launching of the Tricky Raven Language Program, where families will be invited to participate in an intensive immersion class three times each week for a total of 5 hours per week. The classes will be taught by fluent speaker Marsha Hotch and one or two language apprentices who have completed intermediate or advanced Tlingit language classes or the equivalent. We are currently advertising for the language apprentices. Applications are due August 26th, 2022.
Family Lingít language classes will commence mid-October and be held on Monday and Wednesday evenings, 5:30-7:00 p.m. and Saturday (or possibly Sunday) 11:00 a.m. – 1 p.m. for the 9 months of the school year. Meals will be provided with all classes. Focus will be on developing fluency, rather than learning grammar and writing.To assist families commit to the program and develop fluency without feeling hardship, 5 families will be paid $200 per week of attendance. Learning materials, including take-home kits, will be provided.
Because it is essential we build our base of Lingít language speakers within Haines, so that we can hire more local language teachers and eventually provide immersion school opportunities, we are starting by teaching a multi-generation group. Families will become language ambassadors within our community, helping to spread language through signage and social gatherings.
All of this coordinating should build good relationships and result in seeing our language being used in many parts of our community. Most importantly, our children will hear the language and see it as commonplace. This will naturally give them exposure to the language and orient them in this place that has spoken this language since time immemorial.