By Andrew Kennard
The University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) announced Monday that it will offer non-credit courses in Alaska Native languages this fall with no tuition or fees required. Students can pay tuition for courses to receive credit.
“The University of Alaska Southeast is committed to acknowledging and acknowledging the historic wrongs suffered by Alaska Native communities,” said Carin Silkaitis, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. ‘UAS, in an e-mail statement. “We are making sure that Aboriginal people don’t have to pay to learn their own language. It is so important in the work of tongue revitalization and overall healing.
The university has announced that it will offer courses in Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Students can take free courses without credit or pay tuition and fees to receive credit. Classes will run from August 29 to December 17, according to class listings. They take place in the late afternoon and evening, and most take place twice a week.
Courses are listed as available at all three UAS campuses: Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau. The university said its free language courses are offered both in person and online.
Dr. X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell, one of the language teachers, said in the statement that the UAS looked forward to “doing whatever we can to help move our language communities to safe places.”
“Education in America for Native American peoples has long been a vehicle of oppression, genocide and assimilation,” Twitchell said. “Our goal at UAS is to transform education into a vehicle for opportunity, equity and healing. Like one of our elders, Kaséix̱ Selina Everson said: haa wsineix̱ haa yoo x̱ʼatángi (our language saved us).
Also starting this fall, the university also announced that it will offer a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies, which will offer courses in Alaska Native arts, languages, and governance.
“The mission of the degree is to decolonize institutions through indigenization and inclusion, and to ensure that Alaska’s Native languages, peoples, histories, and organizations are seen, known, valued, and included” , UAS said in the statement.
Those interested in UAS programs can visit uas.alaska.edu or speak with a counselor at 907-796-6100.
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