Tikigaq in Point Hope, Alaska

April 15, 2008 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Alaska | Leave a comment
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Two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle lies the Far North Iñupiaq village of Point Hope, or Tikigaq as the Iñupiaq people call it, located near the tip of the Point Hope Promontory, a large gravel spit projecting several miles into the Chukchi Sea.

The finger-like peninsula that forms the western-most extension of the northwest Alaska coast between Cape Thompson and Cape Beaufort is known to local residents as Tikigaq (Tikeraq), the Inupiat word for index finger.

Tikigaq Corporation (Tikigaq) of Point Hope, Alaska, is an Alaska Native Village Corporation, which was established in 1971 under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).

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The corporation has approximately 1,000 Inupiaq shareholders. Most of these shareholders are in Point Hope and are also shareholders of Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC). Tikigaq has proven arctic construction capabilities, rural and urban environmental expertise, logistics services experience, and supports local hire throughout various projects. Their resources include staff engineers, scientists, project managers, superintendents, office managers, purchasing agents, quality control personnel and safety specialists.

Tikigaq has offices and yards in Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Point Hope, Alaska. Tikigaq’s subsidiaries are 8(a) certified through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and are registered Small Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) with the State of Alaska.

Tikigaq provides the following services:

  • Construction Services (Design/Build, Commercial, and Residential)
  • Information Technology/Remote Support
  • Logistics Services
  • Transportation Services
  • Utility Infrastructure, Operation, and Development
  • Fuels Distribution
  • Retail Services
  • Accounting Services
  • Environmental Services
  • Operation and Maintenance of Project Recovery and Treatment Systems
  • Demolition
  • Waste Handling and Disposal
  • Long-term Monitoring
  • UXO Removal and Disposal

I have not got time to read everything in their site, but it looks like a quite interesting project specially concerning self-sufficiency and local control of the natural resources, two main topics when talking about the survival of indigenous communities. I will keep searching for similar projects running on other northern places.

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Chatting in Inuktitut

April 9, 2008 at 9:36 pm | Posted in Canada, Language | Leave a comment
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Have you ever wonder how to confess your passion for pizza even if you are in Greenland? Now you can speak openly about it even eating fresh fish inside an igloo thanks to this short glossary offered by the Indian and Northern Affairs of Canada:

Hi or hello.

How are you?

My name is ________.

What’s happening?

I am from ________ .

What’s your name?

I belong to the _______ Nation.

I can speak my language

Are you learning to speak your language?

I’m going to the store.

I’ll be back soon.

I like pizza.

Cool!

No way!

‘Bye

I bet you to go there an say “no waaaay” if they ask you if you are missing your warm hometown next summer 😉

Hands off the Arctic

April 6, 2008 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Environment | Leave a comment
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Greenpeace is running a campaign trying to protect the poles, specially the North pole. I know I am not being original saying that politicians suck, but I feel like saying it. Apart of that, here you have the info about the campaign:

Global warming is melting the Arctic at an alarming pace. As a result, a host of countries are seeking to drill for the oil and gas once protected by ice. The more oil and gas we burn, the faster the Arctic melts and the closer our planet comes to catastrophic climate change.

It’s a sad irony. In attempting to secure “rights” to Arctic fisheries, new transport routes, oil, gas and mineral resources, countries gain a vested interest in the continued melting of the Arctic.

And as the political and military jockeying for control of the far north continues, the ice melts away. Researchers are now saying we could have ice-free summers in the Arctic by 2040.

World Park Arctic can be a reality. The precedent is already established. Thanks to public pressure, Antarctica already has the same kind of protection the Arctic needs.

Now let’s make some noise to make it happen.

And, if you want to support it, sign here!

Second step: Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland)

April 3, 2008 at 10:05 pm | Posted in Language, Maps, Naming | 1 Comment
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It has been a while since my entry about the maps in Ethnologue, when I posted the information concerning Alaska and Canada. To be honest, the I was thinking that it would be difficult to find information for my project. But I have been jumping from one site to another one, and I had almost forget about this basic step. So here I go; this time, the Ethnologue report for Greenland, or, rather, Kalaallit Nunaat:

Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland)

The total population is 56.384. National or official languages: Greenlandic Inuktitut, Danish. Affiliated with Denmark; home rule since 1979. Literacy rate: 93%. The number of languages listed for Greenland is two: Danish and Greenlandic Inuktitut. Of those, both are living languages.

Inuktitut, Greenlandic
[kal] 47,800 in Greenland (1995 Krauss). Population includes 3,000 East Greenlandic, 44,000 West Greenlandic, 800 North Greenlandic. Population total all countries: 54,800.Greenland. About 80 communities of populations over 10. Also spoken in Denmark. Alternate names: Greenlandic, Kalaallisut. Dialects: West Greenlandic, East Greenlandic, “Polar Eskimo” (North Greenlandic, Thule Inuit). Dialects border on being different languages (M. Krauss 1995). Classification: Eskimo-Aleut, Eskimo, Inuit.

I couldn’t find the map for Greenland in Ethnologue, maybe it doesn’t exist…

Voices from tundra and taiga

April 2, 2008 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Language, Research, Siberia | 1 Comment
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Yestarday, a snowball came rolling from the Netherlands to Barcelona. It said that there is a research center, Mercator, the European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning. They work on a wide range of topics, so I just searched for the Arctic-related ones. With that beautiful title, here you have their Siberian project:

Voices from tundra and taiga

The NWO project “Voices from Tundra and Taiga” started in May 2002 and lasted until June 2005. In a number of subprojects, carried out by different teams throughout the Russian Federation, this project contributed to the strengthening and revitalization of various minor indigenous languages of the Russian North, including Nenets, Nivkh, Yukagir, Khanty, Mansi and others. The project was part of a general research program with the same name.

Final report

Short description of the overall approach:

The topic of the research program “Voices from Tundra and Taiga” is the study of endangered languages and cultures of the Russian Federation, which must be described rapidly before they become extinct. This research is in the fortunate position that our earlier work on the reconstruction technology for old sound recordings found in archives in St. Petersburg has made it possible to compare languages still spoken in the proposed research area to the same languages as they were spoken more than half a century ago. These sound recordings consist of spoken language, folksongs, fairy tales etc., among others in Siberian languages.

In the NWO project we applied the developed techniques to some of the disappearing minority languages and cultures of Russia: Nivkh and Orok on Sakhalin and Yukagir and Tungus languages in Yakutia. Our aim is to set up a phono- and video-library of recorded stories, and of the folklore, singing and oral traditions of the peoples of Sakhalin and Yakutia. For this purpose the existing sound recordings in the archives of Sakhalin and Yakutia are used together with the results of new fieldwork expeditions. The data are added to the existing archive material in St. Petersburg and part of is made available on the Internet and/or CD-ROM.

Spontaneous speech and prepared texts are collected that are valuable for (ethno)linguistic as well as for anthropological, folkloric and ethno-musicological analysis. For that purpose, the data are (video)recorded and analysed as to the art of story telling and language use. Described texts are published in scientific journals and books with audiovisual illustrations on CD-ROM and on the Internet. The materials thus become available for further analysis to researchers working in the field of phonetics, linguistics, anthropology, history, ethno-musicology and folklore. This information is also important for the development of teaching methods for representatives of the related ethnic groups and for the conservation of their language and culture. For this purpose the new centres are equiped with computers, software, sound recorders, literature, etc.

The research and documentation is carried out in close co-operation with local scholars. In Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Yakutsk local scholars and their assistants participate in the archiving of the sound recordings and in fieldwork expeditions. They are trained at St. Petersburg State University and specialists from St. Petersburg State University also visit them in order to set up new centres for the study and teaching of local languages and related subjects.

Voices from Buryatia

In July 2005, Tjeerd de Graaf presented the final report of the NWO project carried out together with Russian colleagues in the framework of theVoices from Tundra and Taiga research program.The research group received positive reactions, both from scientists as well as from teachers, students, native speakers and local authorities. This applied in particular to Buryatia, one of Russia’s federal republics in Siberia, where Tjeerd de Graaf and his Buryat colleague Ljubov Radnajeva visited several centres in June and July 2005. During special teacher seminars, they reported on the results of their projects and on the use of information technology in language teaching. Scientists and teachers from Buryatia are ready and eager to take an active part in the realization of similar new projects. A proposal for such a project has been prepared and submitted to the INTAS Organisation of the European Union.

According to the latest UNESCO data, the Buryat language is considered an endangered language and is registered in the UNESCO Red Book of Endangered Languages. Meanwhile, many Buryat people demonstrate their wish that their children use the native language. Modern educational resources (such as computer-assisted language learning, multimedia teaching material) are almost non-existent in teaching the Buryat language. It should be mentioned that good and promising conditions exist to develop such teaching resources based on information technology. The proposed joint research project will make this possible.

If you have more snowballs for me (aka information, links and resources…) do not hesitate to drop me a line!

Talking Alaska

April 1, 2008 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Alaska, Blogging | Leave a comment
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This is the title for an interesting blog I discovered yestarday: Talking Alaska. It is written by Dr. Gary Holton, a research for the Alaska Native Languages Center. Here you have the blog presentation:

Welcome to Talking Alaska!

This blog covers topics related to Alaska Native languages, including language documentation, language revitalization, language activism, and language endangerment. We may touch on other related topics as well. Guest authors are welcome; contact the admin if you would like to contribute.

We are now well into the 21st century, and all of Alaska’s twenty indigenous (Native) languages are extremely endangered. The knowledge of the Elders risks being lost as young people in Alaska grow up speaking English, with little or no knowledge of the languages of the ancestors.

This is not a new situation. The decline of Alaska Native languages and the shift to English began shortly after the purchase of Alaska from Russia. As the The first General Agent of Education in Alaska, Sheldon Jackson began implementing English-only policies as early as 1884, believing that Native languages were an impediment to educational progress in the state. It was nearly one hundred years before the devastating legacy of these policies began to be reversed with the passage of the Alaska Bilingual Education Act on June 9, 1972. The remainder of the 1970s saw a surge of interest in Alaska Native language work, with many speakers learning to document and teach their Native languages. The decade culminated with the production of Talking Alaska, a series of ten 30-minute videos exploring the “priceless heritage of Alaska’s Native languages.”

The 21st century has seen a resurgence of interest in Alaska Native languages and Native language revitalization. Language programs have been started across the state, ranging from intensive summer language institutes to public immersion language schools. A new generation of speakers — many of the second language speakers — is emerging. These efforts provide testimony that Alaskans have recognized the “priceless heritage of Alaska’s Native language.”

A really think that Internet is a very useful tool for minorities, as it gives them the freedom to communicate annd claim for their rights to the whole world, and this is what this blog is doing. It is now om my RSS reader, so both you and me will keep in touch with them 🙂

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