JUNEAU — The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) will recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a conversation event titled “Ḵaa Tukax̱saké Héende – Towards the River That Untangles a Personʼs Mind.” The events begin at 9 AM on Monday, October 11, with a panel discussion in the afternoon on the Future of Indigneous Language Revitalization from 2:30–4 PM. These will be the first of many events taking place in our community, region, and state.
The morning session will begin with an opening song with Dax̱kil.átch Kolene James, Student Equity and Multicultural Services Manager. This will be followed by a sharing of “Yéil Shkalneek – Raven & His Uncle” by X̱’unei Lance Twitchell, Ph.D., UAS Associate Professor of Alaska Native Languages. The history of Indigenous Peoples’ Day will be presented and discussed. La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow, President and CEO of First Alaskans Institute, will talk about Unceded Territory. Tribal Sovereignty will be presented by Chalyee Éesh Richard Peterson, President of Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Of note, Peterson will be the featured speaker at Evening at Egan later that week, with an in-depth look at the interrelationships between tribes, corporations, and city, state and federal governments. He will discuss understanding tribal sovereignty and being good neighbors, and how healthy tribes contribute toward healthy communities. The closing of the event will be led by Éedaa Heather Burge, UAS Term Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages.
The afternoon session will include a panel of Indigneous language changemakers who will discuss their current work, philosophies on changes needed to protect the health of Indigenous languages, and policy changes that should be enacted in order to secure linguistic and cultural equity. The panel is part of a course called “Foundations of Indigenous Language Education,” and is part of the efforts to contribute to language revitalization across the State of Alaska.
Dr. X̱ʼunei Twitchell remarked, “with the ongoing crisis of COVID-19 adding to the longstanding crisis of Indigeneous language loss, we want to create spaces and times for folks to share their knowledge and dreams of a more equitable future. Alaska Native languages, peoples, histories, and organizations are celebrated on our campus, and inclusion is a commitment of our university. We invite you to share this time on this special day with us, and look forward to a time where we can gather in person as well as virtually.”
Chancellor Carey said, “The celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day is very important to UAS faculty, staff, and students. We cherish being on the land of the Aak’w Kwaan and the diversity across our campuses. I hope that everyone will join us as we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”
To participate in the events above see links below or visit the Juneau Campus Calendar at uas.alaska.edu/calendar for October 11.