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Native language archive opens in Rasmuson Library


Fairbanks, Alaska—The University of Alaska Fairbanks Elmer E. Rasmuson Library will dedicate the Michael Krauss Alaska Native Language Archive with a ceremony and afternoon of free public workshops Friday, Feb. 22.

The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. and will include Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and members of Gov. Sean Parnell’s newly appointed Language Preservation and Advisory Council. The public is invited to attend.

Workshops will start at 3 p.m. and include preserving archival materials, an overview of Alaska Native languages and a panel discussion on the significance and value of the ANLA collections.

All events are free and will be held in the Rasmuson Library on the UAF campus.

As part of the dedication, the archives will be renamed in honor of UAF professor emeritus Michael Krauss, whose support for the documentation of Alaska Native languages has led to ANLA becoming one of the premier repositories for indigenous language materials in the world. Krauss’ contributions to Alaska Native languages include the founding of the Alaska Native Language Center in 1972, the creation of the first modern language map of Alaska in 1974, the documentation of the Eyak language and the co-editing a bibliographic catalog for ANLA.

The Rasmuson Library also has a substantial collection of materials related to Alaska Native languages, including oral histories, scrapbooks and journals.

In its new home, adjacent to the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives, the ANLA houses an office, research space and access to thousands of recordings, books, journals and other materials.

"Bringing our collections together under one roof will enable new and exciting discoveries by students, scholars and the community, making connections with the access of materials from so many different resources," said Bella Karr Gerlich, dean of libraries.

The archive, which houses the collections of language and cultural documentation from the UAF Alaska Native Language Center and from other researchers across the globe, includes more than 15,000 documents and more than 5,000 recordings. In 2009, the archive was established as a distinct entity, allowing a renewed focus on digital preservation and access, while at the same time serving as a repository for the growing body of educational materials being developed by Alaska Native speakers and linguists at the ANLC.

“Collaboration with the Rasmuson Library will allow for better long-term preservation. Equally important, the new location in the library will provide better integration of Native language and cultural resources at UAF. Language, oral history recordings and historic photographs will all be housed in the same location, where they can be accessed by Alaska Native language speakers and learners, researchers and the broader community,” said Gary Holton, director of the archive. “This partnership is integral to ongoing efforts to support Alaska’s indigenous languages.”

ON THE WEB: http://www.uaf.edu/anla/launch/

PARKING NOTE: the Festival of Native Arts will also be held this day, so parking in the core area of the campus is not advised. Parking is available in the Taku Parking Lot east of the library. From there, a shuttle bus can be taken to Wood Center.

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