New legislation to preserve Native languages

Gov. Sean Parnell has signed legislation creating an Alaska Native Language and Advisory Council.

It will be charged with evaluating the state’s indigenous languages and making recommendations for preservation, restoration and revitalization.

Parnell signed the legislation on Monday, May 28, at a statewide conference in Dillingham on Native sobriety.

Senate bill 130 was sponsored by rural Senator Donny Olson, but quickly drew co-sponsors from urban and other urban legislators from both the Senate and House.

Parnell said the state now joins with Alaskans to make sure Native languages are preserved.

“We know that without language preservation, a culture dies.  That is intolerable. That is not acceptable.  And as Alaskans we honor and celebrate our traditional cultures. And we do this by ensuring that the state is now all in making sure that these languages live on,” Parnell said.

The legislation was supported by Alaska Native organizations, including Alaska Federation of Natives and Southeast’s regional corporation, Sealaska.

 

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