[lg policy] Alaska Native language ‘linguistic emergency’ resolution considered in Senate committee

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 10:18:29 EDT 2018

 Alaska Native language ‘linguistic emergency’ resolution considered in
Senate committee
By Christine Trudeau, KYUK-Bethel
5, 2018Alaska Native Arts & Culture
Arts & Culture <https://www.ktoo.org/category/news/topics/arts-culture/>, State


[image: House District 36 Rep. Dan Ortiz addresses the Ketchikan Chamber of
Commerce in 2014. (Photo by KRBD)]

Ketchikan Rep. Dan Ortiz introduced a resolution last week calling for Gov.
Bill Walker to “issue an administrative order recognizing a ‘linguistic
emergency” for Alaska Native languages. (Photo by KRBD)

The Alaska Native Linguistic Emergency resolution is ready to move through
committee in the state Senate. It has already passed the House.

Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee opened its hearing Tuesday
on House Concurrent Resolution 19
<http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Detail/30?Root=hcr%2019> with remarks from
the measure’s sponsor, Ketchikan Rep. Dan Ortiz, who called Alaska Native
culture and language a central part of the state’s cultural identity.

He told the senators that passing it would build on actions already taken
by the Legislature.

“Mr. Chairman, the state has moved in the right direction by acknowledging
and recognizing the 20 Alaska Native languages as official languages of the
state,” Ortiz said. “However, recognition is just the first step.”

Ortiz’s resolution would urge the governor to implement a recommendation
put forward by the Alaska Native Language Preservation Advisory Council
this year.

“In their 2018 bi-annual report to the governor and Legislature, the
advisory council warned that all 20 Alaska Native Languages are in crisis,
and most are predicted to become extinct or dormant by the end of the 21st
century,” Ortiz said. “The state of Alaska can no longer sustain these
rates of language loss unless policy changes are enacted that support
people who are learning and speaking Alaska Native languages throughout the

The Community and Regional Affairs Committee resumes discussion of the
“linguistic emergency” resolution at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 5.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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