You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Sealaska Heritage Institute expands support for Native language study and instruction at University of Alaska Southeast

Indian Country Today 12/22/2022 Press Pool

News Release

Sealaska Heritage Institute


Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will fund University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) students interested in taking courses in X̱aad Kíl, Sm'algyax and Lingít through a new initiative, Our Ancestor’s Echoes. Through the program SHI will also fund language teachers at UAS to provide free, non-credited language classes.

This funding will be available each semester throughout the duration of the three-year project, beginning with the spring 2023 semester and concluding with the spring 2025 semester.

Scholarship applicants must be Alaska Native, planning to take an eligible language course, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 as a full- or part-time student at the University of Alaska Southeast Juneau campus. Preference will go to applicants who are majoring in a field related to language (e.g. Alaska Native Languages and Studies) and to those who are working towards a heritage language teaching or speaking certificate.

The application is only for scholarship funding; students must register for the University of Alaska Southeast course independently. Funding for these course credits is limited; application and necessary documents should be emailed to by Friday, January 6. Applicants must include an unofficial transcript from their most recently attended school and documents to show tribal affiliation. Applicants will be notified via email regarding their acceptance status.

Pictured: 2022 language graduates. (Photo: Stacy Unzicker, courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute) © Provided by Indian Country Today Pictured: 2022 language graduates. (Photo: Stacy Unzicker, courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute)

Language Scholars

Through the same project, Sealaska Heritage Institute has also selected six Native language students for a bachelor’s degree program to further perpetuate Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian languages in the establishment of learning nests.

Casey Moats, Crystal Fierro, Greg Frisby, Raven Svenson, Skaydu.û Jules and Terri Modig were chosen for this program, and SHI will pay room, board and tuition for the students.

The three-year initiative builds on a similar program that ended this year. Through that program, six language learners received their teaching certificates and the remaining nine are working toward that goal as well, said Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl.

“We are so proud of the achievements of our language students. They are at the forefront of perpetuating our ancient languages. With this new round of recruits, we are building on our efforts to hear our languages once again spoken on the land,” Worl said.

Through the three-year program, these selected candidates will be expected to:

  • Spend four hours weekly listening to audio in their heritage language.
  • Spend each year with an advanced language speaker translating and transcribing 15 minutes of archival audio.
  • Attend Sealaska Heritage Institute’s healing Summer Language Program each year.
  • Obtain a bachelor's degree in Indigenous studies with an emphasis in Alaska Native Languages.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

(Image: Sealaska Heritage Institute) © Provided by Indian Country Today (Image: Sealaska Heritage Institute)


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon