July 13, 2007

Grabbing each opportunity

Schools count on a few Native speakers to preserve language

ATHABASCAN:  To teacher Susan Paskvan, Native culture is lost without it.For the last four years, Paskvan has coordinated the Yukon-Koyukuk School District's Native language program. By videoconference from Fairbanks, she helps teach Denaakk'e and Lower Tanana Athabascan to students in the district's nine villages.

Other times, she'll gather up students, parents and elders and go camping near the villages to immerse students in Athabascan language and culture.

"She just tries to grab each opportunity to use the language," said Martha Demoski, a teacher from Nulato who has worked with Paskvan at the camps.

At one summer camp, Paskvan had students put up signs all over with the Denaakk'e words for things and made them repeat the words for whatever they were doing. Students made birch bark baskets, fished and kept journals in English and Denaakk'e.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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