Skip to content

Coastal and Inland Tlingit Elders Brought Together Thanks to NSF Grant

Another outcome of the trip was revitalized interest in re-opening hiking trails dating back to the 1800’s linking Juneau and Klukwan with Yukon and B.C.

A small delegation of Tlingit elders from Juneau recently met with counterparts in Yukon Territory. Their conversations in Tlingit were recorded on videotape. The effort brought together coastal and in-land speakers of the endangered Tlingit language. The trip was part of a National Science Foundation funded project to document and archive conversations in Tlingit. Juneau elders Nora Dauenhauer and Celina Everson and Smith Katzeek of Klukwan travelled with UAS MAT alumni and Tlingit speaker Hans Chester who served as assistant. The trip was organized by UAS Research Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages Alice Taff. The delegation made stops in Atlin, B.C. and Teslin, Carcross and Whitehorse,Yukon Territory.

“Every place we went were feasted and hosted! In Atlin they even hired cooks. Our guests were prepared and ready to be recorded,” said Taff.  Fourteen speakers were taped over the week-long journey, August 9-16, 2010. This is the second year of a three-year $450,000 NSF grant to record spontaneous conversations in Tlingit. “We hope to record enough chit chat to have examples to work from,” said Taff. The recordings will be used for linguistic research and language learning. Taff says it takes about 100 hours of recording, editing and transcription work for a one hour final recording. Eighteen hours were documented over the summer in Yakutat, British Columbia and Yukon Territory.

Another outcome of the trip was revitalized interest in re-opening hiking trails dating back to the 1800’s linking Juneau and Klukwan with Yukon and B.C.  The Douglas Indian Association and a representative of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association are taking up that effort.

Picnic group

R to L are Hans Chester (JNU), Smith Katzeek (Klukwan), Martha VanHeel (CA), Nora Dauenhauer (JNU), Mary Anderson (CA), unsure, Emma Shorty (CA). CA for Canada.

Jonathan Wurtak

Jonathan Wurtak (CA), grandson of Martha VanHeel

 
 

Content maintained by Webmaster.