Tlingit Language Children's Book Project

This blog post features Ernestine Hayes, Saankalaxt', and her Tlingit language children's book project. I can't begin to tell you how important her work is to the Tlingit language revitalization in Southeast Alaska. She has already published one book in Tlingit: Aanka xóodzi ka Aasgutu Xóodzi Shkalneegí, The Story of the Town Bear and the Forest Bear.

Photo by Tommy Joseph, Sitka, Alaska


Ernestine writes:

"Currently it is not the practice to teach the Tlingit language as a first language, nor even as a second language, in the home. Many children receive their greatest exposure to the Tlingit language and to the Tlingit kinship system in the classroom.To varying degrees, the Tlingit belief system, many Tlingit customs, and certain traditional aspects of Tlingit identity have also faded in everyday practice.
      My recent children’s book, Aanka Xóodzi ka Aasgutu Xóodzi Shkalneegí (The Story Of the Town Bear and the Forest Bear), represents the first time that a story originally written in English has been translated for its initial publication in the endangered Tlingit language. I plan to follow the successful reception of this book with a second book, The Story Of Persuasive Raven. While Town Bear Forest Bear is meant for young children and beginning language learners, Persuasive Raven is meant for older children and intermediate language learners."


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