There are 20 Alaska Native languages: Aleut, Alutiiq (also called Aleut or Sugpiaq), Central Yup'ik, St. Lawrence Island, Inupiaq, Tsimshian, Haida, Tlingit, and Eyak and 11 Athabascan languages. These languages are becoming recognized as a priceless heritage.
Since the enactment of the Alaska Bilingual Education Law in 1972, there has been a statewide demand for teachers who can speak and teach these languages in the schools where there are Native children. Professional opportunities for those skilled in these languages exist in teaching and research as well as in cultural, educational, and political development.
Central Yup'ik is spoken by the largest number of people, and Inupiaq by the next largest. In these two languages major and minor curricula are offered. Courses are also regularly offered in Gwich'in Athabascan. For work in all other languages, individual or small-group instruction is offered in special topics. Thus there has frequently been instruction, seminars, and workshops also in Tlingit, Haida, St. Lawrence Island, Aleut, and Koyukon, plus comparative Eskimo and comparative Athabascan.
UAF is unique in offering this curriculum, which benefits also from the research staff and library of the Alaska Native Language Center.
- Alaska Native Language
- Yupik Language
- Inuit Langauge