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Parnell signs legislation to preserve Native languages

Katie Medred

On Monday, Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation to preserve indigenous languages in Alaska.

Senate Bill 130 will establish the Alaska Native Language and Advisory Council. The Council will work with the University of Alaska Fairbanks and state agencies to evaluate and preserve Alaska Native languages. The Council will report to the governor and the Legislature every two years.

Democratic Sen. Donny Olson of Nome and Republican Rep. Alan Dick of Nenana will back the legislation in the Senate and the House, respectively.

In a press release, Governor Parnell said: “Without language preservation, a culture dies. As Alaskans, we honor and celebrate our traditional cultures. The state will join with Alaskans to make sure these languages live on.”

Over 20 different languages are spoken throughout Alaska, but a poll conducted in 2007 reported that only 22 percent of indigenous Alaskans could speak their Native language.