Alaska Native Languages
The Alaska Native languages program offers courses in Eskimo, Aleut and Indian languages spoken in the state. Major and minor curricula are offered in Central Yup’ik Eskimo, the largest Alaska Native language in terms of number of speakers; and Inupiaq Eskimo, the second largest. Regular courses are also available in Gwich’in Athabascan. Individual or small-group instruction is available in other Athabascan languages as well as in Siberian Yup’ik, Alutiiq, Aleut and Tlingit. UAF is the only university in the United States to provide such programs. Students interested in individual or small group interaction should contact the Alaska Native Language Center.
Professional opportunities for those skilled in Alaska Native languages exist in teaching, research and cultural, educational and political development. The A.A.S. degree and the 30-credit certificate in Native language education for either Inupiaq or Athabascan are available by distance delivery. Both provide training in language and culture for people interested in becoming Native language instructors, and both may serve as a step toward further education.
The Alaska Native language teaching program benefits from the research staff and library at the Alaska Native Language Center. Students have access to researchers who are world leaders in documenting Eskimo and northern Athabascan languages. The library houses more than 15,000 items, virtually everything written about Alaska Native languages, including copies of documentation dating to the 1700s.