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Inupiaq Identity and Language in Alaska


((PKG)) ALASKA ENDANGERED INUPIAQ LANGUAGE
((Banner: Speaking Out))
((Reporter
: Natasha Mozgovaya))
((Camera: Aleksandr Bergan))
((Adapted by:
Zdenko Novacki))
((NATS))
((CHRIS DANNER, INTER-ACTIVE INUPIAQ LEARNING PROGRAM))

We got four dialects with our language here in the North Slope. There’s only a few fluent speakers now. I think out of the 12 teachers we have, I think four of them may be fluent.
((NATS))
((FRANNIE AKPIK, INUPIAQ STUDIES COORDINATOR))

Our Inupiaq alphabet.
((CHRIS DANNER, INTER-ACTIVE INUPIAQ LEARNING PROGRAM))
Now it’s supposed to say a term, like whatever these pictures are. Like this is a boy and it’s going to say it in Inupiaq, of course, and you got to click the right picture. So, Tuttu is Caribou.
((FRANNIE AKPIK, INUPIAQ LEARNING PROGRAM))
As a child, I heard it all the time. At home, at church, at the native store, at the celebrations. Everybody spoke Inupiaq fluently without shame. The missionaries did a lot of damage.
((NATS))
((CHRIS DANNER, INTER-ACTIVE INUPIAQ LEARNING PROGRAM))

So, I think that’s floor and chair. And this is just one module out of maybe 30, 36 that we have up right now, and it keeps growing.
((Banner: 1885, Alaska’s head of education, a missionary, began a strict “English Only” policy))
((NATS))
((FRANNIE AKPIK, INUPIAQ LEARNING PROGRAM))

It took me a long time to finally give up speaking in school, because every time I spoke, it seemed like I was punished, yeah. And I couldn’t understand why for a long time, until papa told me, ‘what they’re telling you is when you enter that building, you can’t speak Inupiaq. You have to not say anything in Inupiaq.’ My children, I’m ashamed to say that, they did not speak back in Inupiaq, because I was still ashamed. ((NATS))
We were asked, ‘do you still live in an igloo?’ And I smiled and I said, ‘yes, my igloo is two story. It’s blue. I have three bedrooms and two baths.’ Our ancestors built snow houses and dwelled in them because they were nomadic.

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