Resolution 2019-29: Seek Funding for a Language Immersion Program

WHEREAS, Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) is an Alaska Native tribal health and social services consortium established by the Interior Alaska tribes and tribal communities, to provide a unified voice in advancing sovereign tribal governments through the promotion of physical and mental wellness, education, socioeconomic development and culture of the Interior Alaska Native; and

WHEREAS, the Native Peoples have inhabited this great land from time immemorial, taking sustenance from its waters and lands; and

WHEREAS, the Native Peoples did not stay in one place year round, but had to travel around in their regions as the seasons changed, to go to where they could harvest fur, fish, plants for food and medicinal purposes, berries, and game animals; and

WHEREAS, when the new comers came to our great land, many saw the Natives as heathens and uncivilized, not fit to own the resources and lands; and

WHEREAS, certain Christian missionaries, did not trust the First Peoples when they talked in their Native language, believing they were belittling, and plotting against them; and

WHEREAS, the United States government, in concert with the church systems and missionaries, forced the Native adults and youth, to stop speaking their Native languages, and practicing their Native cultures, under pain of punishment, in order to forcibly, assimilate the Natives into the colonial culture; and

WHEREAS, as a result of these policies of forced assimilation, the Native languages have almost died out, with hardly any of the youth and Elders speaking their Native languages; and

WHEREAS, we believe that the U.S. government, and the churches, should partner with tribes to revitalize Native languages through funding programs including immersion schools.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Tanana Chiefs Conference Full Board of Directors seek to partner with the United States government, and the historical churches and missionaries of Interior Alaska to revitalize Native languages through tribal created programs including immersion

Submitted by: Tanana Tribal Council


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