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Governor Parnell Signs Native Languages Bill


October 23, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today was honored to sign House Bill 216 – legislation designating 20 Native languages as official languages of the State of Alaska. The governor signed the bill before hundreds of cheering Alaska Natives gathered for the Alaska Federation of Natives convention in Anchorage.

“Alaska Native young adults and students throughout the State have demonstrated remarkable success in revitalizing Alaska Native languages,” Governor Parnell said. “This bill reinforces that effort and recognizes the vibrant, existing Alaska Native languages of the State of Alaska. I am proud of those who have kept these languages preserved, as they strengthen the traditions and heritage of our Native people.”

The 20 Native languages include Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Alutiiq, Unangax, Dena'ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich'in, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian.

The governor expressed his thanks to the many elders and linguists who each spoke in their Native language about the meaning of the legislation. House Bill 216 was sponsored by Representatives Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and co-sponsors Charisse Millett, Bryce Edgmon, Ben Nageak and Bob Herron.

Photos from the bill signing are available at: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell/multimedia/photo-album.html?album=824

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