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Igiugig Recieves $857,979 Grant for Yup’ik Language Progam

Written by Renée Grounds on .

Igiugig Village recently received a Language Preservation and Maintenance Grant from the U.S. Administration for Native Americans. Igiugig is among 12 grantees selected nationwide, including organizations across the lower 48, in Hawaii and Guam. The $857,979 grant will be implemented over the three years of the project with the purpose of revitalizing Yugestun (Yup’ik language) in Igiugig.

The project is titled Wangkuta Qanriarait Nanvarparmiut Yugestun (“We all speak Lake Iliamna Yup’ik”) and has a special focus on creating new speakers of the Lake Iliamna dialect of the Yup’ik language. It is estimated that only 23 fluent speakers of this distinct dialect are living today. Through the project, locals will learn to speak Yup’ik and will be trained to teach the language. Community members will be invited to participate in weekly language classes as well as other trainings.

A children’s language program will be developed through the grant. Parents, please contact AlexAnna Salmon if you are interested in your children learning the Yup’ik language.

Consultant experts will come to Igiugig to conduct trainings in the most effective language learning methods, such as immersion and the master-apprentice model. In immersion, only the target language (Yup’ik) is spoken. In master-apprentice, language learners (“apprentices”) are paired with elder speakers (“masters”) and spend time speaking in a natural environment, such as in the home conducting daily tasks in the language.

The Village Council is currently seeking applicants for the Language Apprentice positions in the grant. These positions require a three-year commitment to learning the Yup’ik language, beginning in October. A weekly time commitment of 10-15 hours is required. Duties will include participating in language classes and master-apprentice sessions with elders, as well as other trainings. A willingness to teach children the language is required. Language Apprentices will have the opportunity for advancement to full-time Instructor positions later in the grant. Please contact AlexAnna if you are interested in becoming a Language Apprentice.