University of Alaska Southeast to Offer Free Alaska Native Language Courses

Last month, Native News Online reported that University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) will offer students free non-credit classes in Alaska Native languages this fall.

“The University of Alaska Southeast is committed to recognizing and acknowledging historical wrongs endured by Alaska Native Communities,” Carin Silkaitis, Dean of UAS’s School of Arts and Sciences, said in a statement. “We are making sure Indigenous people don’t have to pay to learn their own language. It’s so important in the work towards language revitalization and overall healing.”

The university will offer classes in Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, and are available at all three of the university’s campuses: Sitka, Ketchikan and Juneau.

The classes will run from August 29 to December 17 and will be offered both in-person and online.

Dr. X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell, one of the language instructors, said in the statement that UAS looks forward to “doing all we can to help move our language communities to places of safety.” 

“Education in America for Native American peoples has long been a vehicle of oppression, genocide, and assimilation,” Twitchell said. “Our goal at UAS is to transform education into a vehicle of opportunity, equity, and healing. As one of our elders, Kaséix̱ Selina Everson said: haa wsineix̱ haa yoo x̱ʼatángi (our language saved us).”

Students who want to receive credit for the classes can pay tuition for them.

You can read the full article here.

Source: Native News Online. “University of Alaska Southeast to Offer Free Alaska Native Language Courses.” June 27, 2022.