Haa Yóo X̱ʼatángi Kúdi Language Immersion Nest Opens
Juneau, AK  (May 1, 2019) – Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska's (Tlingit & Haida) Cultural Heritage & Education department officially opened the doors to the Haa Yóo X̱ʼatángi Kúdi Language Immersion Nest on April 30, 2019.

Eight children attended the first day of the language immersion nest and could be seen writing their names on formline-shaped name cards, holding hands and singing in a circle, and listening intently during storytelling time – all of which was done using only Lingít as the spoken language for communication in the classroom.

Haa Yóo X̱ʼatángi Kúdi is Tlingit & Haida’s first Lingít language immersion program and is a pilot project funded under a three-year grant (Native American Language Preservation and Maintenance Esther Martinez Immersion) through the Administration for Children and Families, Administration for Native Americans (ANA).

The language immersion nest is facilitated by lead Lingít Language Instructor Mary  (Daaljíni) Folletti with two other full-time staff, Nae Brown and Mallory Story. The class currently has 13 pre-school aged children enrolled and operates from 1-5 PM, four days a week at Tlingit & Haida’s Vocational Training & Resource Center with exploratory curriculum, storytelling, quiet time and other special activities.

“Our first day went better than expected,” shared Daaljíni . “We have been told over and over again how chaotic it will be, and we were all pleasantly surprised at how well everyone did. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that we have been doing Adatx’i Gaawu ( Lingít Toddler Time) for a few months and many of the children knew what to expect. In just one day, we have seen confidence in the children’s desire to use the Lingít language. In fact, we even received a text message from a parent who said her child prepped himself for bed in the Lingít language which she had never seen him do before. We are very excited about what lies ahead for the future of our language.”

The goal of Haa Yóo X̱ʼatángi Kúdi under the grant is to provide 500 hours of classroom time for tribal children to be immersed in the Lingít language, provide training and development opportunities to the language instructors, and hold two family events each month to ensure families are a part of the language journey with their children.

“There has been a positive shift with our languages thanks to the hard work of many grassroots efforts, community partners, elders, speakers and dedicated learners committed to the survival of our languages,” said President Richard (Chalyee Éesh) Peterson. “The revitalization and preservation of our indigenous languages is vital to ensuring our identity and place among this land continues for generations to come. The language immersion nest has been a long-term goal of the Tribe and carves out a place within Tlingit & Haida that is committed to nurturing the reemergence of our languages through the voice of our children.”

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