Legislature(2017 - 2018)BARNES 124

03/06/2018 08:00 AM House COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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08:04:35 AM Start
08:05:22 AM HCR19
10:31:40 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony <Time Limit May Be Set> --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
    HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                   
                         March 6, 2018                                                                                          
                           8:04 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Justin Parish, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Dan Saddler                                                                                                      
Representative David Talerico                                                                                                   
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (alternate)                                                                              
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative John Lincoln                                                                                                     
Representative DeLena Johnson (alternate)                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 19                                                                                              
Urging Governor Bill Walker to issue an administrative order                                                                    
recognizing a linguistic emergency.                                                                                             
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HCR 19                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: GOVERNOR: AK NATIVE LANGUAGES EMERGENCY                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) ORTIZ                                                                                             
02/16/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/16/18       (H)       CRA                                                                                                    
03/06/18       (H)       CRA AT 8:00 AM BARNES 124                                                                              
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE DAN ORTIZ                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  As prime sponsor, presented HCR 19.                                                                      
ALBERT NINGEULOOK                                                                                                               
Shishmaref, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 19.                                                                          
YAAYUK BERNADETTE ALVANNA-STIMPFLE, Director                                                                                    
Eskimo Heritage Program                                                                                                         
Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council (ANLPAC)                                                                 
Nome, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified to urge Governor Bill Walker to                                                                
issue an administrative order in response to a linguistic                                                                       
ANNETTE EVANS SMITH, Chair                                                                                                      
Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council (ANLPAC)                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 19.                                                                          
XH'UNEI LANCE TWITCHELL, Vice-Chair                                                                                             
Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council (ANLPAC);                                                                
Assistant Professor of Alaska Native Languages                                                                                  
University of Alaska Southeast                                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 19.                                                                          
MARTIN STEPETIN                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 19.                                                                          
LIZ MEDICINE CROW                                                                                                               
First Alaskans Institute                                                                                                        
Kake, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 19.                                                                          
NANCY BARNES, Member                                                                                                            
Juneau Sm'algyax Group                                                                                                          
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 19.                                                                          
DON BREMNER                                                                                                                     
Yakutat, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HCR 19.                                                                  
DELLA CHENEY                                                                                                                    
Kake, Alaska                                                                                                                    
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HCR 19.                                                                  
ALISON MARKS                                                                                                                    
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HCR 19.                                                                  
SARAH DYBDAHL, Manager                                                                                                          
Cultural Heritage and Education                                                                                                 
Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HCR 19.                                                                          
STUART McDONALD, Superintendent                                                                                                 
North Slope Borough School District                                                                                             
Utqiagvik, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on HCR 19.                                                                  
JODIE GATTI, Staff                                                                                                              
Representative Dan Ortiz                                                                                                        
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered a question during the hearing on                                                                
HCR 19, on behalf of Representative Ortiz, prime sponsor.                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
8:04:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JUSTIN PARISH called  the House  Community and  Regional                                                            
Affairs  Standing   Committee  meeting  to  order   at  8:04  a.m.                                                              
Representatives  Talerico,  Drummond,  Saddler,  and  Parish  were                                                              
present  at  the call  to  order.   Representatives  Rauscher  and                                                              
Kreiss-Tomkins   (alternate)  arrived  as   the  meeting   was  in                                                              
         HCR 19-GOVERNOR: AK NATIVE LANGUAGES EMERGENCY                                                                     
8:05:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR PARISH  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                              
be  HOUSE  CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION  NO. 19,  Urging  Governor  Bill                                                              
Walker to issue  an administrative order recognizing  a linguistic                                                              
8:05:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DAN ORTIZ, Alaska State Legislature, as prime                                                                    
sponsor, presented HJR 19.  He read the sponsor statement, which                                                                
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     The  state   has  moved  in   the  right  direction   by                                                                   
     acknowledging  and  recognizing  the  20  Alaska  Native                                                                   
     languages as  official languages of the  state; however,                                                                   
     recognition is  just the first step. The intent  of this                                                                   
     resolution is  to heed the suggestions put  forth by the                                                                   
     Alaska   Native  Language   Preservation  and   Advisory                                                                   
     Council (ANLPAC).                                                                                                          
     The Council  strongly urges  that the Governor  issue an                                                                   
     Administrative   Order,   recognizing   the   linguistic                                                                   
     emergency that  exists, and state that it  is the policy                                                                   
     of  the  State   of  Alaska  to  actively   promote  the                                                                   
     survival  and  continued  use  of  all  of  Alaska's  20                                                                   
     Native languages.                                                                                                          
     In  their  2018  Biennial Report  to  the  Governor  and                                                                   
     Legislature,  ANLPAC warned  that all  20 Alaska  Native                                                                   
     languages  are  in crisis,  and  most are  predicted  to                                                                   
     become  extinct  or  dormant  by the  end  of  the  21st                                                                   
     century.  The  State of  Alaska  can no  longer  sustain                                                                   
     these rates  of language loss unless policy  changes are                                                                   
     enacted  that  support  people   who  are  learning  and                                                                   
     speaking Alaska Native languages throughout the state.                                                                     
     The loss of  language represents the loss  of a critical                                                                   
     piece  of our history,  culture, and  a traditional  way                                                                   
     of  life. I  respectfully request  the Legislature  join                                                                   
     me  in  support   of  ANLPAC  and  the   languages  that                                                                   
     represent intergenerational knowledge.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ORTIZ  reported that the  last speaker of  the Eyak                                                              
language  died in 2008.   The  last fluent  speaker of  the Tanana                                                              
language is  now 93 years of age.   He said this  illustrates what                                                              
a  critical  point  the  state  is in,  in  terms  of  its  Native                                                              
languages.   He said  Alaska culture began  over 10,000  years ago                                                              
with  its  Native people.    He  stated  that  it is  critical  to                                                              
preserve the language for future generations.                                                                                   
8:10:05 AM                                                                                                                    
ALBERT NINGEULOOK  testified that  Inupiaq is his  first language.                                                              
He expressed  that he  is representing elders  who still  live and                                                              
those who  have passed.   He urged the  committee to  ask Governor                                                              
Bill  Walker to  issue an  administrative order  to save  Alaska's                                                              
Native dialects.   He recited a  Bible verse as follows:   "Do not                                                              
let their  hearts be  troubled;  believe in God;  believe  also in                                                              
me."   He  then  offered  the words  in  Inupiaq.   He  urged  the                                                              
legislature to support HCR 19.                                                                                                  
8:14:11 AM                                                                                                                    
YAAYUK  BERNADETTE  ALVANNA-STIMPFLE,  Director,  Eskimo  Heritage                                                              
Program, Alaska  Native Language  Preservation & Advisory  Council                                                              
(ANLPAC), testified  that her family  originates from  King Island                                                              
and  she lives  in  Nome, Alaska,  and  has been  affiliated  with                                                              
ANLPAC  since  2012.    She urged  Governor  Walker  to  issue  an                                                              
administrative  order in  response  to a  linguistic  crisis.   To                                                              
explain the  impact of language loss  over the last 50  years, she                                                              
said  Native  people  in  Alaska  were  "forced  to  forget  their                                                              
identity as  ... Native  language speakers."   She said  there are                                                              
many elders  in her region  that did not  speak their  language to                                                              
their children,  and childhood  is a critical  time for  people to                                                              
learn a language.   Children were  sent to boarding schools.   She                                                              
said, "Religion  and education played  a huge role in  this Native                                                              
language loss."   Young  people did not  understand why  they were                                                              
disconnected  from  their  elders.    Native  dance  and  cultural                                                              
values  were not  learned, she  said,  and healing  from the  past                                                              
traumas and language loss needs to happen.                                                                                      
MS.  ALVANNA-STIMPFLE  asked  anyone  in  the room  who  spoke  an                                                              
Alaska  Native language  fluently  to  stand up.    [A few  people                                                              
stood.]   She  then asked  anyone in  the room  who understood  or                                                              
spoke some  Native language to stand.   [Considerably more  of the                                                              
audience stood.]   Finally, she asked those who  neither spoke nor                                                              
understood any of  the Native languages to stand.   [All committee                                                              
members stood.]   She stated, "We are very sorry  for not speaking                                                              
with  you,  and  we  didn't  speak to  you  in  our  identity  and                                                              
language.   We wanted you  to do well in  school and at  jobs when                                                              
you grow up.  We now know that was not right."                                                                                  
8:17:37 AM                                                                                                                    
ANNETTE EVANS  SMITH, Chair,  Alaska Native Language  Preservation                                                              
&  Advisory Council  (ANLPAC),  testified in  support  of HCR  19.                                                              
She said  she also  works at  the Alaska  Native Heritage  Center.                                                              
She said  it is important  in understanding  the status  of Alaska                                                              
Native  languages  to  understand   the  historical  context  that                                                              
resulted  in  [the  loss  of  Native   language  speakers].    She                                                              
directed attention  to an Indigenous  People's Language  Map [hard                                                            
copy included  in the committee  packet], which shows  color-coded                                                              
regions where various Native languages are originated.                                                                          
MS. EVANS  SMITH presented  the history  that erased culture  from                                                              
the map  and tore pieces  of the map off,  one by one,  to signify                                                              
this loss as she shared the history, as follows:                                                                                
     Beginning  in 1867,  with the  U.S.  purchase of  Alaska                                                                   
     from  Russia,  without consulting  the  Unangan  people,                                                                   
     Russia   signs  a   treaty  with   the  United   States.                                                                   
     American  administration begins  on October  18th.   The                                                                   
     inhabitants  are  to  be  citizens.     The  uncivilized                                                                   
     tribes will  be subject to  the laws and regulations  as                                                                   
     the United  States may,  from time to  time, adopt.   No                                                                   
     Alaska Natives are granted citizenship.                                                                                    
     Sheldon Jackson,  a Presbyterian missionary,  convenes a                                                                   
     meeting  of protestant  mission society  representatives                                                                   
     in  Pennsylvania   to  encourage   and  coordinate   the                                                                   
     establishment of mission stations around Alaska.                                                                           
     Congress  passes   an  Organic  Act  to   provide  civil                                                                   
     government   in  Alaska.     The  Act   calls  for   the                                                                   
     establishment  of  schools  for  Native  and  non-Native                                                                   
     children.   The secretary  of Interior appoints  Sheldon                                                                   
     Jackson as  general agent for  education for Alaska  - a                                                                   
     position Jackson holds until 1906.                                                                                         
     Native languages  are disallowed  from public schools  -                                                                   
     The  U.S.  Bureau  of Education  ends  its  practice  of                                                                   
     contracting   with  missionary   groups  in  Alaska   to                                                                   
     operate day  schools and opens  federal day schools.   A                                                                   
     new number  of new school  buildings are constructed  in                                                                   
     Native  villages.   These  federal schools  continue  on                                                                   
     until about 1966.                                                                                                          
     Congress passes  the Nelson Act that among  other things                                                                   
     funds roads,  education, and  care for the mentally  ill                                                                   
     in  Alaska.   The administration  states  the funds  for                                                                   
     education are  for schools for white children  and those                                                                   
     of  mixed ...  blood who need  a civilized  life.   This                                                                   
     results  in a  second  school system.    Alaska has  the                                                                   
     U.S.  Bureau of  Education -  later the  BIA -  schools,                                                                   
     created by  the Organic Act  of 1884, that  became known                                                                   
     as  Native  schools,  and  territory  -  later  state  -                                                                   
     schools.  This dual system operates until the 1980s.                                                                       
     1908:    Three Native  families  in  Sitka go  to  court                                                                   
     seeking permission  for their  children to go  to school                                                                   
     in  the territorial  town.   The judge  determines -  in                                                                   
     the  case  known as  David  v.  Sitka School  Board  the                                                                 
     families do  not lead a civilized life, and  hence, does                                                                   
     not  permit the children  to enroll  in the  territorial                                                                   
     1912:   13 Southeast Alaska  Natives created  the Alaska                                                                   
     Native   Brotherhood   and   ...   the   Alaska   Native                                                                   
     Sisterhood.    So, you  can  see  the  map can  go  back                                                                   
     1915:    The  territorial   legislature  passes  a  law,                                                                   
     Chapter 24,  Session Laws  of Alaska, 1915,  recognizing                                                                   
     Native  people as citizens,  though  the law requires  a                                                                   
     Native  person  to  get  endorsements  from  five  white                                                                   
     citizens.   The  law  requires a  Native  person to  get                                                                   
     endorsements  from  five  white  citizens  and  to  have                                                                   
     severed  all tribal  relationships and  to have  adapted                                                                   
     the habits of  a civilized life.  We have  copies if you                                                                   
     would like to see an example of one.                                                                                       
     1918:    The pandemic  flu  ...  spreads to  Alaska  and                                                                   
     rages   through    1919.      Many   Native    children,                                                                   
     particularly  in   the  Seward  Peninsula  and   in  the                                                                   
     Interior,  are orphaned.    In my  family  ... of  nine,                                                                   
     three sisters survive.                                                                                                     
     The territorial  legislature passes a Literacy  Act that                                                                   
     requires a person  to read and write English  to vote in                                                                   
     territorial  elections.   And then,  of course, we  pass                                                                   
     the Anti-Discrimination  Law, and  you can see  again we                                                                   
     can  build  our  map  back.    And  then  in  1972,  the                                                                   
     legislature  passes ...  and creates  the Alaska  Native                                                                   
     Language Center.                                                                                                           
     In 1990  Congress passes  the Native American  Languages                                                                   
     Act,  federally recognizing  tribes for  the first  time                                                                   
     and  ...  languages.    Though  at  first  unfunded,  it                                                                   
     federally  recognizes languages.   In  2012, the  Alaska                                                                   
     State  Legislature  created Senate  Bill  130, known  as                                                                   
     ANLPAC  or the  Alaska  Native Language  Preservation  &                                                                   
     Advisory   Council.      And  then,   of   course,   the                                                                   
     recognition  that  officially recognizes  the  languages                                                                   
     of  Alaska as  official  languages of  the  state.   And                                                                   
     Alaska, I  believe, is still  one of only two  states in                                                                   
     the Nation that has done so.                                                                                               
     So,  you  can  see  pieces   of  the  map  can  go  back                                                                   
     together,  with  well-planned,   well-implemented  state                                                                   
     policy.  When  we all work together, we  can rebuild our                                                                   
     map.   There are many pieces  that still need to  be put                                                                   
     back, but  with all  of us working  together, we  can do                                                                   
MS.  EVANS   SMITH  said  ANLPAC   made  recommendations   to  the                                                              
legislature on  January 1, 2018.   She said community  members are                                                              
partners  in ANLPAC's network.   She  said in  the final  pages of                                                              
the plan  there is  a list of  all of  the immersion programs  and                                                              
all  individuals leading  these  programs,  largely without  state                                                              
support.   She asked  the committee to  imagine what  those people                                                              
could  do  with  state  support.   She  said  Native  children  do                                                              
better, perform  better in  school, and  make better life  choices                                                              
[when they are  not conflicted about their culture  and identity].                                                              
She  said  ANLPAC  has  been  gathering  testimony  "from  members                                                              
across   the  state   of   Alaska,"  and   the   genesis  of   the                                                              
recommendation under HCR 19 came from a member of the public.                                                                   
8:30:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAUSCHER  asked Ms. Evans Smith what  she envisions                                                              
state support would look like.                                                                                                  
MS.  EVANS SMITH  answered state  policy  regarding emersion,  for                                                              
which there  currently is  not a  lot of  support.  She  mentioned                                                              
the state certificate  program, and she offered  her understanding                                                              
that  a bill  is currently  being  heard by  the legislature  that                                                              
would  further strengthen  the certificate  program for  teachers.                                                              
She mentioned  place names.   She further  mentioned "a  truth and                                                              
reconciliation process  for the state of Alaska."   She emphasized                                                              
the need  for a  healing process  much like  that which  Canada is                                                              
experiencing  now.   Ms.  Evans Smith  said  there is  a need  for                                                              
research  to determine  "exactly  where  our speakers  are,"  "how                                                              
many new  speakers  are being created,"  and  how old the  current                                                              
speakers  are.   She  expounded  on the  idea  of  place names  by                                                              
stating,  "Alaska  needs  to  be  special,  but  it  needs  to  be                                                              
everywhere; it  needs to be visible."   She indicated  that ANLPAC                                                              
would  like  to see  [Alaska  Native  languages]  as part  of  the                                                              
education curriculum.                                                                                                           
8:33:26 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked Ms.  Evans Smith  to expound  on her                                                              
final comment.                                                                                                                  
MS. SMITH  reflected that  German, French,  Russian, Chinese,  and                                                              
Japanese are  taught in the  Anchorage School District,  and other                                                              
districts  in Alaska,  and [ANLPAC]  would  like Native  languages                                                              
offered with the same support.                                                                                                  
8:34:01 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   RAUSCHER  asked   for  confirmation   that  there                                                              
currently is  no elective  for Alaska  Native languages  in public                                                              
schools in Alaska.                                                                                                              
MS. SMITH [answered no].                                                                                                        
8:34:39 AM                                                                                                                    
XH'UNEI  LANCE  TWITCHELL,  Vice-Chair,   Alaska  Native  Language                                                              
Preservation &  Advisory Council (ANLPAC); Assistant  Professor of                                                              
Alaska  Native Languages,  University of  Alaska Southeast,  noted                                                              
that  he  is  a doctoral  candidate  in  Hawaiian  and  Indigenous                                                              
Cultural  &  Language  Revitalization   at  the  Ka  Haka  'Ula  O                                                              
Ke'elikolani, College  of Hawaiian  Language at the  University of                                                              
Hawai?i  at Hilo.   He  began his  testimony in  his language;  it                                                              
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     X'unei   áyá   ax   saayí.   Good   morning,   honorable                                                                   
     Representatives  of the  State of  Alaska.   My name  is                                                                   
     X'unei  Lance Twitchell.   I am  an Assistant  Professor                                                                   
     of Alaska Native  Languages at the University  of Alaska                                                                   
     Southeast,   a  doctoral  candidate   in  Hawaiian   and                                                                   
     Indigenous  Cultural & Language  Revitalization at  the,                                                                   
     and  a council  member  of  the Alaska  Native  Language                                                                   
     Preservation  and Advisory  Council.   I  will begin  my                                                                   
     testimony in my language, and will translate.                                                                              
     xwasik?o yad?li  ?t ?w? w?a  s? at woonei haa  aan? k?a.                                                                   
     tlax  wáa  sá   haa  kát  uwagút.  yá  yak'                                                                                
     Lingít'aaní  káa   ?oowdziteeyí  áthaa    yoo  x'atángi                                                                    
     tleidahéen,  hél has  du  tuwáa ushgú.  has  akaawa.aa?w                                                                   
     áwé, x'gaa,    ldakát wé aan  yátx'i yoo x'atánkx'i  yax                                                                   
     has ayawsi.een?.  eeshand?in yoo haa kaawash?o  w? gaaw.                                                                   
     eeshand?in  yoo haa kasheix  yeis?. w?an?x s?w?  h?l haa                                                                   
     eedé  wudushee? ch'u  uwayáa tléináx  haa yatee wé  naná                                                                   
     h?l  y?i kgwatee.  a sh?ot  wutuwa.?t,  yeewh?an. y?  ax                                                                   
     dachxánx'i  yán, hél  has  aguxsakoo  wuliteesh haa  yoo                                                                   
     x'atángi  daat.   yá  haa  aaní  daax   gugwa.aadi,  has                                                                   
     asaga.aax.  gwál ax'eixwaa.aax.  yéi       xwalxéis'  yá                                                                   
MR. TWITCHELL translated as follows:                                                                                            
     It  is a  heavy thing,  what happened  on our  ancestral                                                                   
     land.   It really  came upon us.   This wonderful  thing                                                                   
     that was  born on  our land    our [Tlingit] language                                                                      
     at one  time they did not  want it.  They  tried, truly,                                                                   
     to  kill  all   the  languages  that  belonged   to  the                                                                   
     children  of  the lands  of  Alaska.   How  horribly  we                                                                   
     suffered at  that time.   How horribly we suffer  today.                                                                   
     Why was a hand  not extended to us?  It is  as if we are                                                                   
     alone with this great death.                                                                                               
     It will  no longer be  this way.    We have reached  the                                                                   
     end  of it.   My grandchildren,  they are  not going  to                                                                   
     know  lonesomeness for  our  language.   Those who  walk                                                                   
     upon  our land,  let  them  hear it.   Maybe  they  will                                                                   
     understand.  That is my wish today.                                                                                        
8:37:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. TWITCHELL continued his testimony, as follows:                                                                              
     My    fellow   council    members   shared    tremendous                                                                   
     information with  you, and my goal is to  hone our focus                                                                   
     in on  two things:   the ways  the horrors of  yesterday                                                                   
     affect us all and the effectiveness of public policy.                                                                      
     It is hard  for us to hear, and I assure  you the reason                                                                   
     I share it  is not to make anyone feel guilty,  but this                                                                   
     testimony must  include the suffering of our  elders and                                                                   
     ancestors.    This is  a  real  thing  and must  not  be                                                                   
     transformed  into a  metaphor  or minimized  into  tough                                                                   
     choices or  the ways that things  had to be.   These are                                                                   
     life stories  shared with me  by three amazing  elders                                                                     
     Nora Dauenhauer,  Marge Dutson, and Ida Calmegane    and                                                                   
     I give them my respect and honor today.                                                                                    
     There is  a little  school across from  us near  a place                                                                   
     called Anax  Yaa Andagan Y?, which translates  as  Where                                                                   
     the  Sun Rays  First Hit,"  and it  is sometimes  called                                                                   
     Douglas  Boat  Harbor.   This  little  school  houses  a                                                                   
     Montessori  program.   Good things  happen there.   Good                                                                   
     people are there.   But we know it is a  place that once                                                                   
     housed great suffering and injustice.                                                                                      
     One  of our  elders  who went  to  school  there in  the                                                                   
     1930s  shared a story  about having  kerosene dumped  on                                                                   
     her head  the first day  of school because  the teachers                                                                   
     said  they  were  dirty.   Another  talked  about  being                                                                   
     lifted up  by her hair and  shaken, as a  delicate five-                                                                   
     year-old   child,  lifted   by  her   hair  and   shaken                                                                   
     violently because  she spoke the language of  the people                                                                   
     of this great land.                                                                                                        
     A  teacher   who  wrote  a   book  in  1904   about  his                                                                   
     experiences  said,  We  required them  to speak  nothing                                                                   
     but English  except by permission, but they  often would                                                                   
     get into  the washroom or in  the wood shed,  and having                                                                   
     set a watch,  they would indulge in a good  Indian talk.                                                                   
     A  few cases  of  this kind,  and  we applied  a  heroic                                                                   
     remedy to  stop it.  We  obtained a bottle of  myrrh and                                                                   
     capsicum:   myrrh  is bitter  as gall  and capsicum  hot                                                                   
     like fire.   We prepared  a little sponge;  saturated it                                                                   
     with  this solution;  and  everyone  that talked  Indian                                                                   
     had  his mouth  washed to  take  away the  taint of  the                                                                   
     Indian language!"                                                                                                          
     An elder  who has  worked with  me for  a long time  was                                                                   
     hearing  some of  these stories,  as  I was  researching                                                                   
     language  shift and  attempted  genocide  in the  United                                                                   
     States.   She shared this  with me:   "I was never  beat                                                                   
     like  that, but  I had  a teacher  who used  to call  me                                                                   
     over every  time she saw me.   She would tell me  when I                                                                   
     was  a  little  girl,  every day:    'You  people  think                                                                   
     you're  going  to be  as good  as  us, but  you're  not.                                                                   
     You're just  a second-class  citizen, and no  matter how                                                                   
     long you try, you will never be as good as us.'"                                                                           
     We are  a battered  people.   Alaska Native peoples  are                                                                   
     resilient  and have survived  tremendous hardships.   We                                                                   
     remain.   We  are still  here,  and we  are telling  you                                                                   
     that it  is time  for massive change.   The social  debt                                                                   
     is due,  and it is  time to shift  the scales to  one of                                                                   
     more balance.   The actions of the past  affect us today                                                                   
     by creating  tremendous loss and suffering on  all sides                                                                   
     and by entrenching  us in a great lie that  allows us to                                                                   
     believe that  languages can be  ranked in terms  of use,                                                                   
     effectiveness,  and need     often before  we have  ever                                                                   
     learned anything about them.                                                                                               
     This  is  a  health  issue.   The  damage  is  physical,                                                                   
     emotional,   psychological,  spiritual,  cultural,   and                                                                   
     social.  If  language loss were a cancer,  then we would                                                                   
     be scrambling  to do something.   If our languages  were                                                                   
     panda bears,  there would be  protests and news  stories                                                                   
     around  the world.   I think  what we  have done in  the                                                                   
     past few  years are positive  steps, but we  have really                                                                   
     only  said that  we are going  to do  something, and  we                                                                   
     have not  initiated enough  changes in enough  places to                                                                   
     secure a strong future for our languages.                                                                                  
     Public policy  can correct  some of the horrific  wrongs                                                                   
     that  occurred throughout  Alaska.   Federal  employees,                                                                   
     state employees,  and religious leaders had  their hands                                                                   
     in the  attempted killings  of our languages,  and those                                                                   
     hands are unclean.   It is time for some  decisive steps                                                                   
     that  result   in  elevating  our  official   indigenous                                                                   
     languages to  places of equity  and opportunity.   I ask                                                                   
     you to challenge  yourself to fight the urge  to do what                                                                   
     feels normal and  to sit in silence and  listen to those                                                                   
     who suffered.                                                                                                              
     For  every child  that was  hit  over the  hands with  a                                                                   
     ruler for  speaking their language,  we need  a language                                                                   
     nest that is  state-sponsored and promoted as  a program                                                                   
     that we  refuse to allow to  fail.  For every  adult who                                                                   
     is now  challenged with  their concept  of identity  and                                                                   
     self-worth,  we need  a government that  reaches out  to                                                                   
     them  and understands  that  doing  the right  thing  is                                                                   
     neither  liberal  nor  conservative  but  is  decisively                                                                   
     human.  Put  money into this.  Build programs  that will                                                                   
     I have been  in these halls pushing for a  change that I                                                                   
     hear  when  I  listen  to  the  old  people.    When  we                                                                   
     conclude  our work  and  hand things  over  to the  next                                                                   
     generation,  my hope is  that we can  tell them  that we                                                                   
     took an honest  look at things, and we did  our best for                                                                   
     them  and  their  ancestors.     Some  of  the  proposed                                                                   
     changes  might make you  nervous, but  that fear  is not                                                                   
     based  in fact  or truth    only  speculation that  what                                                                   
     happened  and  what  is  happening  must  be  the  right                                                                   
     We are  a people of tremendous  opportunity, and  we are                                                                   
     going to take  it.  Our council has  inherited lifetimes                                                                   
     of  labor on this  topic, and  we are  ready to  present                                                                   
     our  recommendations  for change.    In the  tomorrow  I                                                                   
     envision, we  are all enriched by the languages  of this                                                                   
     land as  «sh yáa  awudanéix'i» (self-respecting  people)                                                                   
     and «aan yátx'i» (children of the land).                                                                                   
8:43:32 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. TWITCHELL summarized five points from his written testimony,                                                                
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
   1. support for immersion programs. The state needs to get                                                                    
     behind immersion  programs for children  (language nests                                                                   
     &  schools)  and  adults  (adult   immersion  &  master-                                                                   
     apprentice).   They  should   declare  them   officially                                                                   
     sponsored  activities  that  we collectively  refuse  to                                                                   
     allow to fail,  and we find ways to fund  them. We model                                                                   
     them after  successful programs  in Hawaiian and  Mohawk                                                                   
     communities,   and  develop   templates   for  all   our                                                                   
   2. an official apology from the State of Alaska,                                                                             
     admitting wrongdoing  and condemning the  development of                                                                   
     racist  hierarchies  and activities.  Within  that is  a                                                                   
     commitment   to  repair   what   has   been  broken   by                                                                   
     sponsoring  listening  sessions  throughout  Alaska  and                                                                   
     developing  an action plan  with the understanding  that                                                                   
     monumental  changes   are  needed  in  order   to  avoid                                                                   
     committing genocide.                                                                                                       
   3. a comprehensive state-sponsored survey of the state of                                                                    
     all  the languages  in  Alaska, focusing  on  developing                                                                   
     the capacity  within each language  to track  the number                                                                   
     of existing  speakers  and new speakers  that are  being                                                                   
     gained, with  special celebrations  for the addition  of                                                                   
     new speakers.                                                                                                              
   4. language   normalization   activities   that    involve                                                                   
     restoring   Alaska   Native  placenames   (making   them                                                                   
     official and  making sure they are used),  and placement                                                                   
     of  appropriate   Alaska  Native  languages   in  public                                                                   
   5. language restoration commitment through unity and                                                                         
     showing  that  our languages  are  vital and  values  by                                                                   
     making  them  a  required   component  for  high  school                                                                   
     Gunalchéesh ? Háw'aa ? Quayana ? Mahalo                                                                                    
8:45:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND said  she  was moved  by Mr.  Twitchell's                                                              
testimony.   She shared  that she was  born into a  Greek-American                                                              
family in New York  City, and she did not speak  English until she                                                              
was  in Kindergarten.   She  said  she appreciates  being able  to                                                              
speak  one's  language.   She  mentioned  the  immersion  language                                                              
programs established  by the  school districts  a number  of years                                                              
ago in  the Yukon/Kuskokwim  area  and asked  Mr. Twitchell  if he                                                              
knows how successful they were in restoring those communities.                                                                  
MR.  TWITCHELL  answered yes.    He  said  ANLPAC works  with  its                                                              
members across  the state.  He remarked,  "That is one  of the ...                                                              
hallmark programs,  as far  as language retention."   He  said the                                                              
language  preserved there  is Yupik.    He stated  that he  thinks                                                              
there  is a  generational shift  happening, and  he expressed  his                                                              
hope that  the program is  elevated to  the point where  the State                                                              
of Alaska recognizes it as one of the best.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND   observed  that  that   program  focuses                                                              
solely on  "the Yupik and  Chupik in that  area" and there  are 18                                                              
other languages  in the state.   She asked if there are  any other                                                              
immersion programs that currently exist.                                                                                        
MR.  TWITCHELL answered  yes.   He  specified  there are  language                                                              
nests and  language schools.   He  offered his understanding  that                                                              
there is one school  in the Yupik territory and  there are several                                                              
language  nests:   one  recently opened  in  Kodiak; two  recently                                                              
opened  in Fairbanks;  one has  been running  for a  long time  in                                                              
Kotzebue;  one recently  opened  in  Yakutat; and  one  is in  the                                                              
process of  opening in Juneau  this fall.   He expressed  his hope                                                              
that  "these  are just  sort  of  isolated  pockets" and  that  an                                                              
Alaska Native  School Board  could be developed.   He  said ANLPAC                                                              
looks at both the Hawaiian and Maori models.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE DRUMMOND  opined that the idea of  having an Alaska                                                              
Native School Board is a wonderful one.                                                                                         
8:48:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  imparted his  background  in English  and                                                              
opined  that   language,  as  it   intersects  with   culture,  is                                                              
fascinating.    He  said  he thinks  the  committee  would  change                                                              
history;  it would,  but it  cannot.   What the  committee has  to                                                              
consider  is  a  resolution  asking   the  governor  to  issue  an                                                              
administrative  order recognizing  linguistic  emergency; it  does                                                              
not ask the  legislature to declare  the emergency.  He  asked Mr.                                                              
Twitchell  if he has  approached  the governor  to request  such a                                                              
MR. TWITCHELL  said [ANLPAC]  has been  in communication  with the                                                              
Office  of the  Lieutenant  Governor since  the  inception of  the                                                              
idea, by Sarah  Dybdahl at the Alaska Federation  of Natives (AFN)                                                              
listening   session   in  October   [2017].     He   offered   his                                                              
understanding  that today may  be the first  time that  ANLPAC has                                                              
testified  before  a  legislative  body  and for  the  purpose  of                                                              
emphasizing the importance  of the issue and illustrating  what it                                                              
would like  to see in an administrative  order.  In response  to a                                                              
follow-up question, he  said he has not heard the  governor say he                                                              
would  not do  this without  the urging  of the  legislature.   He                                                              
noted  that  House  Bill  216,  which  asked  that  Alaska  Native                                                              
languages be  considered the official  language of the  state, was                                                              
considered by many to be just a symbolic act.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER  interjected,   "It's  actually   in  the                                                              
language of the resolution."                                                                                                    
MR.  TWITCHELL said  a  friend,  who was  a Vietnam  veteran,  had                                                              
testified about the  experience of coming back from  a war without                                                              
recognition and that  at some point there was a  small ceremony to                                                              
recognize  those veterans.    He indicated  that  the idea  behind                                                              
"getting unanimous  voices" is to  highlight the issue -  "it adds                                                              
to our momentum."                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  noted   that  a  governor  can  issue  an                                                              
executive order  without the intervention of the  legislature, and                                                              
he expressed  interest in  finding out  if Governor Walker  placed                                                              
"any conditions"  on  this or "suggested  this  as a ...  tactic."                                                              
He then  asked Mr.  Twitchell to expound  on the relation  between                                                              
language and culture.                                                                                                           
MR.  TWITCHELL answered  that the  two are  intertied, although  a                                                              
person  can have  cultural fluency  without  language fluency  and                                                              
vice versa.   For example, a  Tlingit person could know  songs and                                                              
know about  potlatch and hunting  and fishing but might  not speak                                                              
the language.   Conversely, someone  who is "someone  disconnected                                                              
from these cultural  activities" could speak the  Tlingit language                                                              
fluently  in  a  classroom  without  understanding  "some  of  the                                                              
cultural depth" of  the language.  He said it is  easier to have a                                                              
revival of  culture than language.   He stated,  "A post-colonized                                                              
world is  not always  friendly towards  having multiple  languages                                                              
existing  in the same  space."   He talked  about the dancing  and                                                              
energy  during  Celebration,  which  takes  place  in  early  June                                                              
[biennially, in  Juneau, Alaska].   He said Hawaiians  noticed the                                                              
division  between  culture  and   language  in  Hawai'i  and  made                                                              
efforts  to change  it.   For example,  someone  should not  learn                                                              
hula  without  learning  the  Hawaiian that  is  spoken  with  it.                                                              
Without the  connection,  he said, the  cultural ceremonies  "lose                                                              
the things  that they're  rooted  to."  He  concluded, "So,  there                                                              
are specific words  that connect to concepts and  that connect you                                                              
to ancestors and that connect you to each other."                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  said  he   went  to  school  with  Jewish                                                              
children who attended  Hebrew school.  He added that  he had taken                                                              
French in  school.  He  said, "I'd like  to think that  government                                                              
cannot block  culture and that a  culture will survive  and thrive                                                              
- or maybe just  survive - in the face of government  action.  I'm                                                              
also therefore,  on the converse  side, concerned  that government                                                              
cannot support  culture."   He asked  Mr. Twitchell if  government                                                              
support of Alaska  Native language can be adequate  to support the                                                              
Alaska Native culture or if it is "part of the whole thing."                                                                    
MR.  TWITCHELL  responded  that  government can  and  has  limited                                                              
cultural  activities.     When  governance  was   handed  over  to                                                              
missionaries,  following   the  comity  plan  issued   by  Sheldon                                                              
Jackson,  he  said, missionaries  were  established  as  governing                                                              
bodies  that  would   decide  whether  or  not   certain  cultural                                                              
activities were allowed.   Mask dancing and language  speaking and                                                              
some ceremonies  were banished.   He said, "You can't  just squash                                                              
people out  and expect  them to  ... just bounce  back."   He said                                                              
the  discussion  is  not  about  race; it  is  about  people,  and                                                              
governments,  and languages,  and it  is difficult  to piece  them                                                              
out from  each other.   Mr.  Twitchell said  sometimes when  there                                                              
are initiatives,  people will question  why they are  not included                                                              
in  the proposed  benefit,  but  in terms  of  language, he  said,                                                              
"Anybody could  come to the language."   He said there  are plenty                                                              
of  non-Tlingit  people  learning  Tlingit,  and  he  offered  his                                                              
understanding that  those people's lives  are enriched.   He said,                                                              
"We're  focused  on  the  languages,  with  the  belief  that  the                                                              
language has  a health impact, and  part of that health  impact is                                                              
culture."  He  quoted Walter Soboleff as saying,  "People who know                                                              
who they are don't  kill themselves."  People without  a root tend                                                              
to drift, which  is something Mr. Twitchell said  he has witnessed                                                              
in areas  where indigenous people  have been colonized  and forced                                                              
to live  without choice,  which  he said is  a government  action.                                                              
He  mentioned the  lack of  history  given to  students, and  that                                                              
without  that history  it may  seem like  Alaska Native  languages                                                              
are  just  fading   away  without  any  particular   reason.    He                                                              
suggested  that   where  there  were  once   government  sponsored                                                              
activities  that   caused  this,  there  need  to   be  government                                                              
sponsored activities  to [support] the languages.   He opined, "If                                                              
we all just moved  to Greece or to France and  we decided to never                                                              
learn  that  language,   it  would  just  be  strange,   but  it's                                                              
acceptable here in America."                                                                                                    
8:58:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND   pointed  out  that  a   map  of  Alaska                                                              
stretches  across the  entire  Lower 48.    She said  Greece is  a                                                              
small country  of approximately  700-800 million people;  millions                                                              
more [people  with Greek  ancestry] live  around the world;  there                                                              
are approximately  600 Greek Orthodox  churches in  North America;                                                              
each  church  holds   a  festival  annually  to   celebrate  Greek                                                              
culture.  She stated  that there are not that many  Alaska Natives                                                              
left  "on  the  land"  - perhaps  only  a  few  hundred  thousand.                                                              
Representative  Drummond  stated  that  for  that  reason  she  is                                                              
concerned  and  supports  calling  [the  state  of  Alaska  Native                                                              
languages] an emergency.   She imparted she had  read that Chinese                                                              
and Greek  are two  languages that have  remained unchanged.   She                                                              
said   [Alaska  Natives]   cannot   [save   their  languages]   by                                                              
themselves;  they need  to be  supported.   She said  that as  the                                                              
chair of  the House Education  Standing Committee, she  would work                                                              
toward creating an Alaska Native School Board.                                                                                  
MR. TWITCHELL  noted that fewer  than 10 percent of  Alaska Native                                                              
people   can  speak   in  their   language,   a  circumstance   he                                                              
characterized as dreadful.                                                                                                      
9:01:06 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  surmised   that  it  is  easier  for  the                                                              
mechanism  of  government  to  break up  culture  rather  than  to                                                              
support it.   He  asked if  it would help  resolve the  linguistic                                                              
emergency  to  have  non-Natives  learn  to  speak  Alaska  Native                                                              
languages or  if it  was important that  Alaska Natives  speak the                                                              
MR. TWITCHELL answered  that he thinks both things  are important.                                                              
He  said  [language]   is  a  key  component  of   who  indigenous                                                              
populations  are.   He said  Native language  can help  non-Native                                                              
people connect  to a place in a  different way.  He  explained the                                                              
interconnectivity  between  a place  name [and  how  that name  is                                                              
repeated  in the  name  of] a  river and  a  school.   He said  he                                                              
thinks it  is important  for people in  Alaska to understand  that                                                              
they are  part of  the colonial  process, which unfortunately  for                                                              
Native Alaskans was  one that went from negotiation  to removal to                                                              
elimination.   The elimination  started through  warfare  and then                                                              
was manifested  by forced assimilation.   He said a  person either                                                              
can become  complicit in that  or decide this  is a bad idea.   He                                                              
reiterated  that  people  do  not  need to  feel  bad  about  what                                                              
happened  in the  past; they  just need  to "do better  now."   He                                                              
concluded,  "And  so,  I  think   it's  important  that  everybody                                                              
achieves  some  basic  level  of   proficiency,  and  I  think  it                                                              
enriches their experience wherever they live in Alaska.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  said he  had prepared for  today's meeting                                                              
with  some trepidation,  because HCR  19 asks  the legislature  to                                                              
make  a  request  of  the  governor  that  could  have  been  made                                                              
directly to  the governor.   However, he  acknowledged there  is a                                                              
lot  of emotion  surrounding  this  issue, including  "pain,  hurt                                                              
pride, grievance,  and loss."  He  said that puts  the legislature                                                              
"on this  spot."   He cautioned  people  not to "look  at this  as                                                              
you're either  for us or  against us."   He posed the  question of                                                              
whether  it  is possible  to  support  Alaska Natives  and  Alaska                                                              
Native culture  and people but  not support HCR  19.  He  said the                                                              
proposed  concurrent  resolution   asks  the  legislature  to  get                                                              
government involved  in repairing that which government  caused in                                                              
the past.  He  said he doesn't know to what extent  a culture that                                                              
relies on  government to support  it is "in  the best place."   He                                                              
observed some  steps have  been mentioned, and  he asked  what the                                                              
end goal is.                                                                                                                    
MR. TWITCHELL  answered, "I don't  know if we  ever get to  a safe                                                              
place."   He  said  there  are 20  Alaska  Native  languages.   He                                                              
offered  his understanding  that  over 12  of them  have only  100                                                              
speakers left;  4 or 5 of them  have fewer than 10  speakers left.                                                              
He  indicated  that  it is  difficult  to  understand  why,  after                                                              
hearing  from elders  and about  what the U.S.  and the  education                                                              
system have  done, anyone would vote  "no."  He said the  no votes                                                              
are heavy,  and the  reasons given  by those who  vote no  is that                                                              
this is not the  responsibility of the government.   Mr. Twitchell                                                              
said English  and European  culture is not  the only  culture, but                                                              
it is "the  default" - it is  what is studied.  He  questioned how                                                              
many high  school students would  be able to  show on a  map where                                                              
the  20 languages  are  but said  they could  name  20 states,  20                                                              
countries,  and 20 presidents.   He  indicated that [not  teaching                                                              
Alaska  Native  culture  and languages  sends  the  message  that]                                                              
"those people aren't  really important."  Hierarchies  have set up                                                              
systems of privilege  and suffering, he said, and "all  we have to                                                              
do is do what  feels normal, and those hierarchies  continue."  He                                                              
said suffering is probably invisible to people in power.                                                                        
MR. TWITCHELL said  one solution is to change what  it means to be                                                              
an  Alaskan  and  to  be educated.    People  said  Alaska  Native                                                              
languages  were  of  no  value,  but that  was  before  they  ever                                                              
learned  anything about  them, he  said.   He encouraged  educated                                                              
and informed  decisions be made.   He said  he is open  to hearing                                                              
why HCR  19 might be a  bad idea.  He  said some people  might say                                                              
that  the proposed  concurrent  resolution  would be  "privileging                                                              
Alaska  Native  people," but  he  argued  that  is not  the  case,                                                              
because currently  the system blatantly privileges  non-indigenous                                                              
people by  making them the  default - "the standardized  knowledge                                                              
that you have  to acquire."  He  concluded, "But we say,  'Okay, a                                                              
portion of  that can  be indigenous  people, too, because  they're                                                              
here; they've been here; they're going to be here."                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER said  he takes  the issue  seriously.   He                                                              
said  regardless  of  what  the   government  does,  Native  youth                                                              
learning the  languages and passing  that knowledge down  to their                                                              
children will "win  the battle at that level."   He wished success                                                              
to Mr. Twitchell.                                                                                                               
9:09:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS reflected  upon government's  role,                                                              
both  in  the  past and  as  a  force  for  good.   He  asked  Mr.                                                              
Twitchell  to  speak  about  language  programs,  school  funding,                                                              
grassroots  efforts in  teaching  Native languages,  and how  they                                                              
all   tie  together.      He   offered  his   understanding   that                                                              
Representative Saddler  had spoke to a point that  "just through a                                                              
law  you can't  change things."   He  clarified that  he wants  to                                                              
hear  Mr.  Twitchell's   perspective  regarding  the   ability  of                                                              
investment and  support in  the public sector  to be "a  tide that                                                              
rises  a  lot  of  boats,  including  boats  that  aren't  at  all                                                              
affiliated with government."                                                                                                    
MR. TWITCHELL  first shared an anecdote,  an experience he  had at                                                              
a   ceremony   in   Hawai'i  for   preschoolers   moving   on   to                                                              
Kindergarten.   He said there were  hundreds of people,  a teacher                                                              
speaking  in  Hawaiian,  and  each child  spoke  in  Hawaiian  and                                                              
received  a response  from their  parents  in the  language.   The                                                              
friend  who had  invited  Mr. Twitchell  was  moved  to tears  and                                                              
could  only muster,  "Intergenerational  Transmission."   He  said                                                              
many of the  children were crying  but "we didn't feel  the weight                                                              
of  the  impending  death  of  everything."     His  friend  later                                                              
explained  his tears:   the  parents  of those  children were  his                                                              
students  as  children  when  he  first  started  teaching.    Mr.                                                              
Twitchell  said he  wondered  how [Alaska  Natives]  could get  to                                                              
this point.  He  said he thinks there currently  is momentum going                                                              
in  the right  direction;  there  are many  people  who have  been                                                              
fighting  their  whole lives  "who  might  have  a chance  to  see                                                              
this."   He  said he  wants to  open  the door  to "that  language                                                              
immersion school"  before some of  the elders are gone  but "we're                                                              
missing  the boat."   He  said he  has  tried to  work with  local                                                              
school  districts, with  the superintendent,  and  with others  to                                                              
build a  program that  functions only in  Tlingit, but  "they just                                                              
can't  say, 'Yes'."   He  said the  graduation  rate among  Alaska                                                              
Natives  is  horrible  and  he  cannot  understand  why  something                                                              
different  is not  being  done.   He  said it  comes  back to  him                                                              
asking,  "Am I important?    Are we as  a people  important?   Can                                                              
that happen that we feel this sense of being important?"                                                                        
MR. TWITCHELL  said Hawai'i once  was down to 100-200  speakers of                                                              
the  Hawaiian  language;  now  the  state has  over  10,000.    He                                                              
indicated that  state sponsorship  was involved  in the  effort to                                                              
restore  the  Hawaiian language.    He  said graduation  rates  in                                                              
Hawai'i  grew to a  20-year history  of a  100 percent  graduation                                                              
rate and  an 80 percent  college placement  rate.  He  said people                                                              
have  asked how  children being  taught  Tlingit are  going to  be                                                              
prepared  for the "real"  and modern  world,  and he said  Tlingit                                                              
people are real and modern.                                                                                                     
MR.  TWITCHELL  indicated  that  his sister,  Liz  Medicine  Crow,                                                              
said,  "Don't play  devil's  advocate."   Instead  consider  where                                                              
thoughts come  from and how they  can be analyzed "in  the context                                                              
of these  greater things."   He  said "we"  stand upon  a platform                                                              
that was  built and says that  "these guys are better;  these guys                                                              
are worse."   He  said there still  exist today  laws in  the U.S.                                                              
Supreme Court  that say indigenous  people are inferior.   He said                                                              
he is amazed that  those laws have not been rescinded.   He said a                                                              
choice  can be  made to  make laws  that focus  on the  languages.                                                              
People can realize  that "we have some keys in our  pocket; we can                                                              
open some door."                                                                                                                
9:17:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MARTIN  STEPETIN stated  that  out  of all  the  testimony he  has                                                              
given on  behalf of his people  and the future, this  testimony is                                                              
the  most  important.   He  expressed  appreciation  for  all  the                                                              
questions that have  been asked to figure out what  can be done to                                                              
help.  He  said he thinks HCR 19  asks for help not  just from the                                                              
governor but from  the legislature, and if the  legislature was to                                                              
help, "it would  have a lot more  meaning."  Mr. Stepetin  said he                                                              
is Aleut  and his wife  is of Tlingit  and Japanese ancestry.   He                                                              
said  one  reason  his  family moved  to  Juneau  is  because  the                                                              
Tlingit  culture is  strong; it  has been  more resilient  through                                                              
colonization.    There  are  more   Tlingit  speakers  than  Aleut                                                              
speakers.   He said he wants to  move home but wants  his children                                                              
to  be close  to  one  of their  cultures  and they  love  Tlingit                                                              
dancing.   He said he  signed them up for  a program so  that they                                                              
can start  learning the language.   He  suggested making it  a law                                                              
that children  have to learn some  form of indigenous  language in                                                              
school.   He said while  he does not  have the level  of education                                                              
of some  people in  the room, the  issue is near  and dear  to his                                                              
heart.   He noted  that he had  brought his  children in  the room                                                              
with him.                                                                                                                       
9:23:31 AM                                                                                                                    
LIZ MEDICINE  CROW, First Alaskans  Institute, testified  that she                                                              
is  Tlingit   and  Haida;   she  is  Eagle;   her  crest   is  the                                                              
Hummingbird.   She  talked  about  her grandparents  and  parents.                                                              
She said her  mother, who was present  in the room, is  a language                                                              
learner who  taught her.   She  stated that  when the experts  say                                                              
[this issue  is one that should  be heard], "these are  the people                                                              
that we  have decided we  should listen to."   She said  she feels                                                              
pride  to listen  to "the  love  and the  dedication to  something                                                              
that  is so big  many cannot  even imagine  how we  start to  deal                                                              
with this."  She  said there is an analogy that  asks, "How do you                                                              
eat an  elephant?"   The answer  is, "One  bite at  a time."   She                                                              
said  the analogy  does  not work  in Alaska,  and  she offered  a                                                              
substitute:   "How do you eat  a whale?"   She said it is  not one                                                              
bite  at  a time;  it  is  "by  community"  and "by  a  collective                                                              
responsibility to the  land and to one another."   She remarked on                                                              
Mr. Stepetin's having  encouraged the committee to  ask questions.                                                              
She  recalled Mr.  Twitchell's comments  regarding the  connection                                                              
between Alaska Natives  knowing their languages and  being healthy                                                              
and making good  life choices.  She commented that  she is blessed                                                              
to be able to be here to speak on this issue.                                                                                   
9:27:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEDICINE CROW  said in  1935 her  grandmother graduated  from                                                              
Sheldon  Jackson  and  was  sent   to  Ashville  Normal  Teacher's                                                              
College in  North Carolina.   She  traveled there  on her  own via                                                              
steam ship  to Seattle, then  train to  Chicago and then  to North                                                              
Carolina.   She stayed there for  four years, unable to  come home                                                              
for the holidays,  until she graduated in 1939 with  a Bachelor of                                                              
Science  in Education.   Ms.  Medicine Crow  said her  grandmother                                                              
would combat loneliness  by imagining conversations  in Haida with                                                              
her  mother.     She  said  her  grandmother's   perseverance  and                                                              
resilience were  gifts she  inherited, and now  she herself  is an                                                              
adult language  learner, which is  difficult.  She said  there are                                                              
things  that  could  be done  to  make  [learning  language]  more                                                              
accessible and to overcome barriers.                                                                                            
9:30:40 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEDICINE CROW  said HCR 19 is calling upon  the legislature to                                                              
show  its support  and counteract  history  by "taking  proactive,                                                              
well-thought  action."   In  showing interest  in  the issue,  the                                                              
governor, the  legislator, and many  others support  prevention of                                                              
a  human  rights catastrophe.    She  said  if  the issue  is  not                                                              
addressed,  "we are  on the  verge of  losing the  essence of  our                                                              
humanity and  the soul  of what  Alaska can and  should be."   She                                                              
said  the government,  churches, and  businesses "worked  together                                                              
to get us where  we are today," and "the way  to heal that history                                                              
is to make new history" and "be on the right side of history."                                                                  
MS. MEDICINE CROW  said First Alaskans Institute is  involved in a                                                              
truth, racial healing,  and transformation endeavor,  with healing                                                              
being at the  center.  She explained that  transformation involves                                                              
a metamorphosis  much like  that of a  caterpillar turning  into a                                                              
butterfly.   What  was done  in the  past cannot  be changed,  but                                                              
from  this moment  forward those  wrongs can  be put  right.   She                                                              
said  she  knew this  is  possible  when  she  read the  call  for                                                              
administrative  support [under  HCR 19].   She  said, "We  look to                                                              
the opportunity  to  partner with  the legislature  to be  able to                                                              
serve our community by giving them a place to heal."                                                                            
9:35:14 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEDICINE  CROW recalled a question  that had been asked  as to                                                              
whether [HCR  19] was an opportunity  for Alaska Natives  to learn                                                              
languages or  for all  Alaskans to  know Alaska Native  languages,                                                              
and she said the  answer is it is for [all Alaskans].   She noted,                                                              
"The difference is  that it requires so much more  healing as a[n]                                                              
indigenous  person, so  we have  to  create a  network to  support                                                              
that."   She explained  that every  time she used  to stand  up to                                                              
introduce  herself  in her  language,  she  would "go  blank,  and                                                              
English would  come out."  She said  she had to take  an immersion                                                              
program  with some  of  her sisters  to  break  down that  barrier                                                              
inside her  mind and to start "healing  that hurt."  She  said she                                                              
also participated  in a  canoe journey,  paddling eight  days from                                                              
her  village, which  also helped.    Now, when  she hears  [Native                                                              
Alaskan]  experts talking  about  what needs  to  happen, she  can                                                              
support   those   recommendations,   because  she   trusts   their                                                              
knowledge  and has  her own  experience from  which to  draw.   On                                                              
behalf  of First  Alaskans Institute,  she stated  support of  HCR
19.  She thanked the committee in both Tlingit and Haida.                                                                       
9:36:53 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER  said HCR 19  says nothing about  truth and                                                              
reconciliation;  it speaks  to the  legislature  to encourage  the                                                              
governor  to work  with the  legislature  to "work  to ensure  the                                                              
survival  of  20  Alaska  Native   languages"  and  "to  establish                                                              
policies that  prioritize survival  and continued  use."   He said                                                              
if truth and reconciliation  is the goal of Ms.  Medicine Crow, he                                                              
encourages  her  to  bring  forth  specific  legislation  to  that                                                              
MS.  MEDICINE CROW  agreed that  HCR  19 "doesn't  say that,"  but                                                              
there  are efforts  underway to  "create a place  that allows  for                                                              
the advancement  of  this healing  that is necessarily  a  part of                                                              
moving forward."                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SADDLER responded, "We are in agreement."                                                                        
9:38:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   remarked   that   perhaps   this                                                              
[conversation] is "good fodder" for creating such legislation.                                                                  
9:39:40 AM                                                                                                                    
NANCY   BARNES,  Member,   Juneau  Sm'algyax   Group,  began   her                                                              
testimony  speaking in  her  Native language  of  Sm'algyax.   She                                                              
then  shared  that  she  is  of  the  Eagle  moiety  and  is  both                                                              
Tsimshian and  Aleutiq.   She said she  is "a life-time  Sm'algyax                                                              
learner."   She said the Juneau  Sm'algyax Group supports  HCR 19.                                                              
She  said Alaska  indigenous languages  are at  a critical  point.                                                              
She said  a Tsimshian talking  circle was  started in 2013,  and a                                                              
group would gather  at her home, using a talking  dictionary.  The                                                              
group's  teacher,  Donna  May  Roberts,   and  her  husband,  Tony                                                              
Roberts, took  part in the  group.  She  said Ms. Roberts  came to                                                              
Juneau  in 2002  and taught  a week-long  total physical  response                                                              
(TPR) class.   Ms.  Barnes said  Ms. Roberts taught  her a  word -                                                              
magwa'ala  - which  is the  most  severe winter  storm that  comes                                                            
only  once  every  100-200  years and  for  which  preparation  is                                                              
difficult.   She indicated that  Ms. Roberts told the  group, "Our                                                              
language  is in a  state of  magwa'ala now."   Ms. Barnes  stated,                                                            
"At that time we  had 30 fluent speakers; we have  6 on the United                                                              
States side."                                                                                                                   
MS.  BARNES said  today  amazing  efforts are  being  made by  the                                                              
Haayk   Foundation   in   Metlakatla;  Donna   May   Roberts,   in                                                              
Metlakatla;  Terry  Burr,  in  Ketchikan;  Marcella  Asicksic,  in                                                              
Anchorage;  and  Mique'l  Dangeli, in  British  Columbia,  Canada.                                                              
She  said  for  over  two  years,  the  group  has  practiced  its                                                              
language every  Saturday.   Terry Burr is  teaching them  on line,                                                              
with  elder,  John Reese,  who  is  92 years  of  age.   She  said                                                              
President  Richard  Peterson,  from Central  Council  Tlingit  and                                                              
Haida  Tribes  has  allowed  the   group  to  use  rooms  and  the                                                              
technology to reach  out to many areas.  She said,  "He knows that                                                              
Native  languages are  in a  state  of magwa'ala."   She  credited                                                            
Alfie  Price,  who   works  for  Central  Council,   for  doing  a                                                              
wonderful  job  ensuring that  the  group  has materials  and  the                                                              
logistics to keep going.                                                                                                        
MS. BARNES  urged support of HCR  19.  She cited language  on page                                                              
2, lines 17-20, which read as follows:                                                                                          
     FURTHER  RESOLVED  that  the  Alaska  State  Legislature                                                                 
     encourages  the   Governor,  in  cooperation   with  the                                                                   
     legislature,  to work with  Alaska Native  organizations                                                                   
     to    initiate   and    strengthen,   as    appropriate,                                                                   
     legislative  and  policy measures  that  prioritize  the                                                                   
     survival and continued use of Alaska Native languages                                                                      
MS. BARNES  said HCR 19 would "give  us a good statement  to carry                                                              
on."   She  said  many gather  on  their own  but  need tools  and                                                              
9:44:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BARNES,  in response to  Representative Saddler, said  she had                                                              
worked  on  Rural  and  Native  Affairs  under  Governors  Cowper,                                                              
Hickel,  and  Knowles  and  Senator   Kookesh  and  Representative                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  highlighted  the  words  "prioritize  the                                                              
survival" from  the excerpt of HCR  19 Ms. Barnes had  quoted.  He                                                              
asked what that means to Ms. Barnes.                                                                                            
9:45:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BARNES  indicated it means  [providing] language  material and                                                              
language  opportunities through  the school  districts and  tribal                                                              
organizations  and the  legislature.   She  reemphasized the  need                                                              
for  support  and  recognition  that  "we  are  in  the  state  of                                                              
magwa'ala."   In response to  a follow-up question,  she indicated                                                            
a  focus on  that  which is  critical rather  than  distinguishing                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER emphasized  that  to prioritize  something                                                              
means  to   give  it  higher   importance  than   something  else;                                                              
therefore,  he suggested  that if  Ms. Barnes  is not  comfortable                                                              
doing  so, perhaps  the word "prioritize"  should  not be  used in                                                              
HCR  19 and  instead  the focus  would be  to  make everything  as                                                              
important as everything else.                                                                                                   
MS. BARNES responded, "Probably do some wordsmithing on that."                                                                  
9:47:54 AM                                                                                                                    
DON  BREMNER  testified  that  his  parents  were  prevented  from                                                              
speaking their  language and practicing  their culture  in schools                                                              
and in  public.  He  stated support for  HCR 19 and  surmised that                                                              
Governor Bill Walker  would support it.  In terms  of history, Mr.                                                              
Bremner described  the English  language as  a malignant  tumor in                                                              
his mind,  body, and  spirit.  He  said compelling generations  to                                                              
speak English is  "evil-intentioned."  He said  the younger people                                                              
who testified  did so in the  spirit of cooperation;  however, his                                                              
generation  and the  generation before  him grew  up fighting  the                                                              
state  and  federal  government  "for everything  we  have  to  be                                                              
Native."  He  said, "We set the  base for them to speak  here like                                                              
they're  speaking,  but  we  fought  for this.    So,  now,  we're                                                              
getting crumbs pushed  off our table, where before  we had a huge,                                                              
massive piece  with our languages  - culture."   The issue  is the                                                              
total extinction of Native languages.                                                                                           
MR.  BREMNER referenced  the 1910  U.S.  Census and  said at  that                                                              
time if  a person  did not  speak English,  he/she was  considered                                                              
illiterate.   He questioned, "How do  you deal with that?   How do                                                              
you live  with that?  How  do you wake  up in the morning  in your                                                              
own country  and go out there and  be illiterate?"  In  1910 there                                                              
were an  estimate 25,000  Native Alaskans,  56.6 percent  of which                                                              
spoke only  in their Native language.   Just 43 years  earlier, in                                                              
1867,  all Natives  spoke in  their  Native language.   Using  the                                                              
calculation of  56.6 percent, Mr.  Bremner said that in  1910, 174                                                              
of  the  307 Tlingit  living  in  Yakutat  spoke in  their  Native                                                              
language.   Today there  are approximately  211 Tlingit  living in                                                              
Yakutat and only  one elder healthy enough to  teach the language,                                                              
which he said is .0047393364 percent today.                                                                                     
9:51:59 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BREMNER posed  the question, "What positive steps  can we take                                                              
in the right direction?"   He answered that [HCR 19]  is a step in                                                              
the right  direction  - "a lifeline"  thrown  to Native people  in                                                              
Alaska.   On a personal  level, he said he  is done fighting.   He                                                              
mentioned again  the younger people  who are willing to  work with                                                              
[the  state] cooperatively  but  emphasized  that [Native  people]                                                              
have demonstrated,  since before Alaska  became a state,  that "we                                                              
could  coexist  with  you"  and that  "our  Native  languages  can                                                              
coexist with  you."  He  opined, "I think  it's important  for all                                                              
of  us  to  be  bilingual,  with   English  and  with  our  Native                                                              
languages in the state."  He concluded:                                                                                         
     There  are state  policies,  state education  standards,                                                                   
     and  state advertising  and  promotion.   These are  the                                                                   
     things that  pushed us out  into just an English  world.                                                                   
     So,  these are  the three  areas  that we  need to  work                                                                   
MR. BREMNER  told committee  members  that they  are doing  a good                                                              
job here today.  He thanked them in Tlingit, with "Gunalch?esh."                                                                
9:54:02 AM                                                                                                                    
DELLA CHENEY  gave her Tlingit  and Haida  names and said  she was                                                              
born  and raised  in Kake,  Alaska.  She  said she  worked in  the                                                              
Office of the Governor  for 10 years, taught for  10 years, worked                                                              
at Sheldon  Jackson College, and  worked as a city  administrator,                                                              
and she  loves the life  she has lived and  where she lives.   She                                                              
said there are many  ways of looking at "what we  have experienced                                                              
as Alaska  Native people."   She said her  mother was 10  years of                                                              
age when  she was  sent to  boarding school  and could  only speak                                                              
Haida.  She said  some children at the boarding  schools were just                                                              
five  years  of age.    She  said  the children  at  the  boarding                                                              
schools  were  not  nurtured  and  did  not  understand  what  was                                                              
happening  to them.   She stated,  "Some people  didn't come  back                                                              
home.    So, my  friend,  Bob  Sam,  is bringing  them  back  from                                                              
Carlisle, because  that's where they  passed.  That's all  the way                                                              
across  the country."   She  said some  who did  come home,  "like                                                              
from Vietnam," did  not know what had happened to  them or what to                                                              
do, and they had no support."                                                                                                   
MS. CHENEY  said she  had just  attended a  workshop on  "cultural                                                              
relative  teaching" which  taught that ethnic  groups anywhere  in                                                              
the U.S. have not  been recognized and are invisible  in their own                                                              
world.   She added, "So,  we don't know  how to grapple  with that                                                              
education  from a place  of comfort,  from a  place of  nurturing,                                                              
from a place of  love.  So, we're doing the best  we can with what                                                              
we have."   She  said when  her parents  came home [from  boarding                                                              
school],  they had  no skills for  parenting  or cultural  ways of                                                              
knowing."   She  added,  "Thank  the Lord  they  both could  speak                                                              
their language  'til they left us  and became powerful  leaders in                                                              
the state."   She said with  that knowledge of their  language and                                                              
culture, her  parents had "a  firm ground to  walk on."   She said                                                              
she  had  that, too,  because  of  the  love  of her  parents  and                                                              
because she was  never sent to boarding school.   She said she was                                                              
born  and  raised in  a  community  where  she knew  her  parents,                                                              
siblings, cousins,  and full  extended family.   She stated,  "So,                                                              
the love in me  is bigger than some of those  people who came home                                                              
without it and are so not sure what's happened to them."                                                                        
MS.  CHENEY  expressed  appreciation  to  the  committee  for  its                                                              
consideration of HCR  19, and she expressed hope  that its members                                                              
will see that "we  want to move and grapple with  education from a                                                              
place of education  and nurturing."  She thanked  them in Tlingit,                                                              
with "Gunalch?esh."                                                                                                             
10:00:24 AM                                                                                                                   
ALISON  MARKS  related  that  she  is  a  traditional  artist  and                                                              
carver.    She  said  Alaska Native  languages  are  part  of  the                                                              
state's  history,  having  existed pre-contact  and  during  every                                                              
major event  since.   She said  those in  the Last Frontier  pride                                                              
themselves on being  different from those in the Lower  48, and if                                                              
Alaska's languages  are allowed to  die, the state will  be moving                                                              
further away from  that which makes it unique.   She mentioned Mr.                                                              
Twitchell's testimony  and said if  the polar bear were  to become                                                              
extinct  Alaska  would  lose  "a   vital  and  vibrant  thread  in                                                              
Alaska's tapestry."   She proffered  the same could be  said about                                                              
Alaska's Native  languages.  Ms.  Marks said the  Tlingit language                                                              
contains sounds  that are not  heard in  any other language.   The                                                              
extinction  of Alaska  Native  languages is  the  result of  "top-                                                              
down"  policies,  with  governing bodies  and  educations  systems                                                              
actively  repressing  Native  languages.    Ms.  Marks  concluded,                                                              
"This repression  is so ingrained in  us today that we  need these                                                              
top-down  policies  to support  our  languages,  and we  need  the                                                              
support of  our governing bodies  to ensure the  revitalization of                                                              
our languages."                                                                                                                 
10:03:19 AM                                                                                                                   
SARAH DYBDAHL,  Manager, Cultural Heritage and  Education, Central                                                              
Council of  Tlingit and Haida  Indian Tribes of  Alaska, testified                                                              
first  in her  Native language  and  then translated  that she  is                                                              
originally from  Klawock, Alaska,  and she is  Tlingit.   She said                                                              
Central Council  of Tlingit and  Haida Indian Tribes of  Alaska is                                                              
the largest [federally]  recognized tribe in  Alaska, representing                                                              
30,000  tribal citizens,  and supports  HCR  19.   She noted  that                                                              
Central  Council of  Tlingit  and Haida  Indian  Tribes of  Alaska                                                              
provided a letter  [included in the committee].  In  the letter is                                                              
a report,  and in appendix  e is a list  of all the  Alaska Native                                                              
programs  in Alaska  that represents  over 40  years of effort  to                                                              
begin to "see the tide change amongst our languages."                                                                           
MS.  DYBDAHL said  the  late Clarence  Jackson  had  told a  story                                                              
about a tsunami  that took place  at Lituya Bay and one  tree that                                                              
had been left.   The tree asked,  "Can you hear me?   Trees on the                                                              
other  side that  had grown  back answered,  "We hear  you."   She                                                              
said  the  legislative   body  is  being  asked   to  hear  Native                                                              
Alaskans,  because "being  heard is  going to  allow the forest  -                                                              
our languages  - to grow."  She  said, "It's not zero  sum for our                                                              
language prioritized.   ... We're asking for  equal advancement of                                                              
our languages  - advancement  of our  way of  life."  Ms.  Dybdahl                                                              
said her  son takes part in  an optional [emphasis  on "optional"]                                                              
Tlingit  Cultural Language  and  Literacy Program  at his  school,                                                              
but  unlike other  languages taught  at  the school,  there is  no                                                              
school bus  offered; parents  are responsible  for bringing  their                                                              
children to  Harborview Elementary  School for  the program.   She                                                              
imparted that when  she told her son she would  be speaking before                                                              
Representatives today,  he said he wishes there would  be a simple                                                              
fix that makes it  so Alaska Native languages could  be learned in                                                              
school,  because he  said he  has no  use for  French or  Spanish.                                                              
She  said her  son asked,  "Can the  State of  Alaska start  doing                                                              
things  smarter rather  than  harder?"   Ms.  Dybdahl thanked  the                                                              
committee, with "Gunalch?esh."                                                                                                  
10:08:59 AM                                                                                                                   
STUART  McDONALD,  Superintendent,   North  Slope  Borough  School                                                              
District, testified  that his name was fodder for  ribbing; he was                                                              
called  Stuart Little  and  Old MacDonald.    He said  it was  the                                                              
preservation  of Gaelic language  and culture  by his  family that                                                              
helped  him "preserve  a  different  identity."   He  said in  the                                                              
1990s  he  was  the  Clan  Donald   USA  Northwest  Region  Alaska                                                              
Commissioner and would  greet people in Gaelic.  He  then stated a                                                              
phrase in  Inupiaq.   He said,  "These are  more than words;  they                                                              
are actual frameworks of conceptual thinking."                                                                                  
MR. McDONALD  proposed, "If we  worry about low  graduation rates,                                                              
then let's  follow  the numbers."   He told  committee members  to                                                              
pay  attention to  previous testimony  about a  school in  Hawai'i                                                              
with 100  percent graduation rate.   He relayed that in  2016, the                                                              
North Slope  Borough School District  had a 58 percent  graduation                                                              
rate  and  has   for  seven  years  been  developing   an  Inupiaq                                                              
education  framework.    In  2017,  the  graduation  rate  was  77                                                              
percent.  He  said the district has fully integrated  Inupiaq into                                                              
its language  arts program for "a  different perspective to  get a                                                              
different result."   He stated, "Our job as educators  is to build                                                              
a positive, person,  powerful future vision for  our students that                                                              
connects  them  to education."    He said  HCR  19  uses the  word                                                              
"priority."  He  asked committee members to imagine  a cooperation                                                              
with  the   legislature  that  can   determine  what   action  the                                                              
government can take.   He talked about collecting  data that shows                                                              
how  many  students  are  increasing   their  fluency  in  another                                                              
language and  creating policies and  rules like Hawai'i  has where                                                              
15 percent  of all contracts  and business exchanges  are required                                                              
to  be  in  the regional  language.    Mr.  McDonald  stated  that                                                              
research  shows that  bilingual  students  are superior  students;                                                              
they  perform better,  are better  connected, and  are a  stronger                                                              
academic  voice with more  power than  a mono-linguistic  student.                                                              
He said many steps  have been taken and it is time  to "grab ahold                                                              
of what's possible  here and make a huge difference  in the way we                                                              
go about business  in Alaska."  He said, "I think  in the long run                                                              
it will be  good for Alaska -  good for all of us,  non-Native and                                                              
Native alike - it's the right move."                                                                                            
MR.  McDONALD related  that  the district  is  continuing work  in                                                              
language  nests.  It  is trying  to capture  fluent speakers  in a                                                              
preschool  program.   It is  one of the  few places  in the  state                                                              
that has  such a program  for that age.   He said the  district is                                                              
working with  the community to  take the preservation  of language                                                              
seriously.   He said  it is  something that  can be supported  and                                                              
legitimized by  government.  He  added, "Not because  government's                                                              
going  to help,  but  when  government  allows the  reporting  and                                                              
acknowledges  the  need  for  the presence  of  the  language  and                                                              
everything that we  do, then it helps local effort  be legitimized                                                              
and validated."                                                                                                                 
10:15:55 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  DRUMMOND  asked  Mr.  McDonald  if he  has  had  a                                                              
chance  to consider  a recommendation  from  the Alaska  Education                                                              
Challenge,  which  the governor  and  state school  board  brought                                                              
forward last  year regarding the  creation of an option  for self-                                                              
governance.  The  recommendation was for "compacting  the delivery                                                              
of education  between the State  of Alaska and tribes  or tribally                                                              
empowered Alaska Native organizations."                                                                                         
MR. McDONALD  answered yes.   He said  existing rules  allow local                                                              
school  boards  to work  with  their  communities and  the  state,                                                              
using state  and federal dollars,  "to accomplish  everything that                                                              
exists within the  concept of the compact now";  however, spelling                                                              
out  the rules  and understanding  what  is allowable  now is  not                                                              
clear  from district  to  district.   He opined  that  as long  as                                                              
compacting  is not  "an  exit from  the state  to  step away  from                                                              
responsibility of  public education in  our communities," it  is a                                                              
good step  forward.  He said  the concept of "public  school" must                                                              
be preserved.   He said there are  people from all over  the world                                                              
in the  North Slope.   He indicated that  when someone  greets him                                                              
with  "good morning"  in Inupiaq,  "she tells  me it's  critically                                                              
important that this  is a public school system  for all students."                                                              
He advised  that compacting  must not sacrifice  that notion.   He                                                              
said  this Alaska  Education Challenge  concept  is a  new one  he                                                              
would  like to  see developed.    He said  he thinks  most of  the                                                              
tools needed  to "make this go well"  exist.  He opined,  "We need                                                              
to take  advantage of that strong  voice in local  control, backed                                                              
and  supported  by   our  state  in  helping  us   with  recording                                                              
requirements and  other things that  would allow  legitimizing our                                                              
work and strengthening local control."                                                                                          
10:19:39 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   SADDLER  offered   his  understanding   that  Mr.                                                              
McDonald  had   emphasized  that   public  schools  are   for  all                                                              
MR. McDONALD  said that's right.   He said one of the  early views                                                              
of  the  melting  pot  of America  was  e  pluribus  unum,  but  a                                                              
stronger  view of the  U.S. today  is "e  pluribus pluribus  - for                                                              
many, many."   He stated, "It's a  system that we need  to play to                                                              
our  strengths and  our  diversity."   He  opined that  HCR 19  is                                                              
critical.  Mr.  McDonald said Gaelic survived because  in the mid-                                                              
'90s there was  a Scottish independent movement  that ensured that                                                              
Gaelic was  taught in  parts of  the world.   Now the  language is                                                              
preserved  with  no worry  it  will  parish.   In  Alaska,  Native                                                              
language will  parish, he warned, if  a similar move is  not made.                                                              
He said,  "The greatest  experiment  in the United  States  is the                                                              
best experiment  in the  entire world of  making sure  that public                                                              
school  serves all  and has  room  to focus  on individual  groups                                                              
without excluding others."                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  recollected that  Mr.  McDonald had  said                                                              
language  is  a  framework  of  conceptual  thinking  that  "we're                                                              
pushing  for  different  results."     He  directed  attention  to                                                              
language on page 2, [within lines 10-12], of HCR 19, which read:                                                                
          WHEREAS  indigenous  peoples   should  be  able  to                                                                 
     provide  education in  the peoples'  own languages  in a                                                                   
     manner  that is  appropriate  to the  peoples'  cultural                                                                   
     methods of teaching and learning;                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  Mr. McDonald  if he  thinks HCR  19                                                              
implies   there  is  a   necessity  of   changing  public   school                                                              
instructional  methods.    He  asked,  "Does  teaching  German  or                                                              
Japanese  or  Spanish  require   cultural  specific  instructional                                                              
MR. McDONALD  answered that  happening now  is the reinvention  of                                                              
mathematics  and   instruction  and  there  are   wonderful  tools                                                              
involved related  to various  types of math.   He offered  further                                                              
details and  encouraged the continued  growth and  development and                                                              
incorporation  of "the  best of  what's being  borne out of  other                                                              
cultures."   He reiterated that  something different must  be done                                                              
in  response  to  low performance  rates  of  Alaska  Natives  and                                                              
American   Indians.     He   said   that   as  an   educator   and                                                              
superintendent,  he thinks "we  can do better"  and there  is room                                                              
for discussion and  for a change in the framework  in education in                                                              
order to address the needs of all students.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER said  changing the  framework is  a larger                                                              
change than "the  symbolic recognition of the  official languages"                                                              
and is  different from what people  might assume in  having Alaska                                                              
Native  language  as  an  adjunct   language,  such  as  Japanese,                                                              
Russian, or  German.   He stated  concern with "the  vulcanization                                                              
of the state" and  possibly that of the education  system "to have                                                              
different  methods of  instruction  in different  languages."   He                                                              
said  the nation  is multi-cultural  and English  is the  language                                                              
everyone speaks in order to understand each other.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked Mr.  McDonald what "priority"  means                                                              
to him.   For example, he asked  Mr. McDonald if he  thinks Alaska                                                              
Native languages  should  be taught instead  of Western  languages                                                              
or alongside them.                                                                                                              
MR.  McDONALD  replied that  when  he  served in  Kodiak,  English                                                              
language learners  had low performance levels, but  when they were                                                              
allowed to  flourish in  their first  language, with English  then                                                              
incorporated,  the success  rate grew  from 47  percent to  98-100                                                              
percent.   He said that was  done "without sacrificing  anything."                                                              
Regarding  the  Alaska  language  component, he  said,  "No  one's                                                              
asking  for  this  resolution to  be  a  one-size-fits-all  silver                                                              
bullet;  it's a  piece  of  a larger  complex  story,  and it's  a                                                              
critical  story."   He  said HCR  19  is a  good  step forward  to                                                              
tackle a  complex issue.   He assured that  no one is  saying that                                                              
the state should  do away with an entire education  framework; the                                                              
goal is  to grow, develop, and  mature the education  framework to                                                              
be an  inclusive one  where students "have  a fighting  chance not                                                              
to be a statistic in the low-performing demographic."                                                                           
MR. McDONALD  said that in the interest  of time, he would  try to                                                              
produce a  written statement  for the committee.   He  stated that                                                              
he is  in 100 percent  agreement with most  of the  testimony that                                                              
had been heard thus far.  He continued as follows:                                                                              
     The  parts  that  I  might   have  a  slight,  different                                                                   
     opinion  on  is purely  borne  out  of my  own  personal                                                                   
     ignorance,  and  I  can't  ... answer  for  a  group  of                                                                   
     people  any more  than  somebody could  help  understand                                                                   
     why it's  important to  me to  know that McDonald  meant                                                                   
     something more than Big Macs.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER asked  again  for Mr.  McDonald's take  on                                                              
the word "priority".                                                                                                            
MR.  McDONALD, in  response to  Co-Chair Parish,  deferred to  the                                                              
bill sponsor's  staff and  said he  would submit  the rest  of his                                                              
answer in writing.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  expressed keen  interest  in getting  the                                                              
answer from Mr. McDonald.                                                                                                       
MR. McDONALD replied  that he would respond in  writing within two                                                              
10:28:37 AM                                                                                                                   
JODIE  GATTI,  Staff,  Representative   Dan  Ortiz,  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Ortiz,  prime sponsor of                                                              
HCR 19,  stated that the  specific language  on page 2,  lines 19-                                                              
20,  asks for  "legislative and  policy  measures that  prioritize                                                              
the survival  and continued  use of  Alaska Native languages"  but                                                              
does not  specifically  say that  "we are going  to prioritize  it                                                              
over other languages [or] teach it instead of other languages."                                                                 
10:29:53 AM                                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  SADDLER  asked  for confirmation  that  Ms.  Gatti                                                              
means that  he should not interpret  the language on page  2, line                                                              
19, as  meaning that  the resolution  supports legislative  policy                                                              
measures  prioritizing  Alaska  Native languages  over  any  other                                                              
MS. GATTI answered that's correct.                                                                                              
10:30:15 AM                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR PARISH  ascertained that people still waiting  to testify                                                              
would be  able to present their  testimony at the next  hearing of                                                              
HCR 19.  He held public testimony open.                                                                                         
[HCR 19 was held over.]                                                                                                         
10:31:40 AM                                                                                                                   
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Community and Regional Affairs Standing Committee meeting was                                                                   
adjourned at 10:32 a.m.