The Athabascan languages of Alaska are connected to the land, developed over centuries in intimate conversation with the natural world. Each Athabascan language is a linguistic landscape: the sounds tł’, ts’, shr, a rustle of leaves: ghw, k’, t’, the feel of the earth beneath the feet: aii, oo, uu, branches growing towards the sun: stories passed down generations a history of the land; beliefs and knowledge intertwined in the languages, a living, breathing life force. In this talk, Doyon Foundation's Language Revitalization Director Allan Hayton argues that we must mend the broken ties with the land and our languages for healing and revitalization to begin.
Allan is the son of Lena Pauline Hayton from Fort Yukon, Alaska, and James T. Hayton from Natick, Massachusetts. He was raised in Arctic Village, Alaska, and his grandparents are Robert and Lena Albert from Tanana and Fort Yukon, Alaska. Allan studied theatre and film at Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas, finishing his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992. He continued studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, graduating spring 2013 with a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics. Allan works closely with nine Athabascan languages of Interior Alaska as the Language Program Director for the Doyon Foundation.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx