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New Apps Share Alutiiq Language


Illustration by Mary Ruskovich.

Cover of the digital book Kaugya’angcum Qawangurtuwa.Cover of the digital book Kaugya’angcum Qawangurtuwa.

The Alutiiq Museum and Native Village of Afognak have released print and app versions of two Alutiiq language books: Kaugya’angcum Qawangurtuwa and Qateryuk. April Laktonen Counceller wrote Kaugya’angcum Qawangurtuwa–Small Fox’s Dream, an original story about a young fox getting ready for school. Kodiak artist, Mary Ruskovich, illustrated the book. Qateryuk–Ptarmigan was written by Candace Branson and illustrated by Kodiak artist, David Tucker. It is adapted from a traditional Alutiiq story about two men who befriend a ptarmigan, recorded by Frank Golder in the nineteenth century.
These books are the final installment in a series of twelve Alutiiq language books, produced both as print and app books designed to promote Alutiiq language literacy. “The app books bring the Alutiiq language to life with sound and animation,” said Native Village of Afognak Tribal Administrator Melissa Borton. “We can reach a wider audience and make these language resources available to people outside of Kodiak by offering the books in multiple formats.” 
Alutiiq Museum Executive Director and Qbook author April Laktonen Counceller added, “After being involved with the production of the first six books, it was fun to explore my creative side and write a new story in Alutiiq. I especially enjoyed sharing it with fluent Elders who helped me with the grammar.”
Kaugya’angcum Qawangurtuwa and Qateryuk are free interactive apps available from the iTunes store by searching “Alutiiq”. The apps are compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices using iOS 8.0 or higher. All of the books will be available for Android devices soon. In each app book, readers can touch words and hear spoken versions and practice their own pronunciation. Readers can also make their own recording of each book and color the pictures in Qateryuk–Ptarmigan. Qateryuk is recommended for audiences 13 and older, following the guidelines established by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) due to depictions of fantasy violence—violent actions easily distinguishable from real life.
Print versions of both books are for sale at the Native Village of Afognak and the Alutiiq Museum and will be available at the Kodiak Public Library soon. A list of the Qbooks produced by this project is available on the museum’s website at https://alutiiqmuseum.org/teachers/publications. The Afognak Native Corporation, the Administration for Native Americans, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services provided financial support for the project.
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