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30th Legislature(2017-2018)

Bill Text 30th Legislature


00 Enrolled HCR 19                                                                                                         
01 Urging Governor Bill Walker to recognize a linguistic emergency.                                                        
02                                        _______________                                                                  
03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                             
04      WHEREAS the state is home to 20 officially recognized Alaska Native languages,                                     
05 Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Unangax^, Dena'ina, Deg Xinag,                                
06 Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich'in, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, H?n,                                   
07 Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian, alongside English; and                                                      
08      WHEREAS House Bill No. 216, enacted as ch. 116, SLA 2014, signed into law by                                       
09 Governor Sean Parnell, adding the 20 Alaska Native languages to the official languages of the                           
10 state, was the culmination of hundreds of hours of effort by legislators, Alaska Natives, and                           
11 others; and                                                                                                             
12      WHEREAS Senate Bill No. 130, enacted as ch. 48, SLA 2012, signed into law by                                       
13 Governor Sean Parnell, established the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory                                 
14 Council to advise both the governor and legislature on programs, policies, and projects to                              
15 provide for the cost-effective preservation, restoration, and revitalization of Alaska Native                           
16 languages in the state; and                                                                                             
17      WHEREAS the state is in critical danger of losing those languages and, according to                                
01 the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council, the state may lose the last                               
02 fluent speakers of all 20 Alaska Native languages by the end of the 21st century if current                             
03 rates of language loss continue as they have since the 1970s; and                                                       
04      WHEREAS one Alaska Native language, Eyak, lost its last fluent speaker in 2008;                                    
05 and                                                                                                                     
06      WHEREAS 50 years of research shows that early, total language immersion                                            
07 education for English speakers increases academic proficiency in both English and the                                   
08 immersion language, as well as in other academic subjects; and                                                          
09      WHEREAS indigenous peoples should be able to provide education in the peoples'                                     
10 own languages in a manner that is appropriate to the peoples' cultural methods of teaching and                          
11 learning; and                                                                                                           
12      WHEREAS language is an important element of culture, and the use of Alaska Native                                  
13 languages can strengthen Alaska Native culture in a mutually reinforcing cycle;                                         
14      BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges the Governor, the Alaska                                    
15 Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council, and other state agencies to work                                     
16 expeditiously and actively with the legislature and Alaska Native organizations to ensure the                           
17 survival and continued use of all 20 of the state's Alaska Native languages; and be it                                  
18      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature encourages the Governor,                                        
19 in cooperation with the legislature, to work with Alaska Native organizations to initiate and                           
20 strengthen, as appropriate, legislative and policy measures that prioritize the survival and                            
21 continued use of Alaska Native languages; and be it                                                                     
22      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature urges Governor Bill                                             
23 Walker to recognize a linguistic emergency.                                                                             
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