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PUBLISHED: 4:17 PM on Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Sealaska Heritage to give language classes
Program to start next week in Ketchikan

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will offer Native language classes June-August in Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian this summer.

SHI will sponsor its language programs in four locations, including Ketchikan, Angoon, Haines and Juneau. The institute also for the first time is partnering with the Ketchikan Indian Corporation's Johnson O'Malley program to offer the Ketchikan classes.

"These programs will not only introduce the beginner to the language but also to those who want to teach the language to others. So it has multiple resources for the language learner as well as the language teacher," said SHI President Rosita Worl.

The schedule includes numerous courses in Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian, offered through the institute's annual Sealaska Kusteey? Program. Students receive college credit for completing the classes, which are co-sponsored by the University of Alaska Southeast. The schedule also includes two Tlingit immersion retreats in Angoon and Haines. This is the third and final year of the retreats, which have been funded through an Administration for Native Americans grant. The grant expires this year. Students take a vow to speak only in Tlingit during the retreats.

"Language revitalization is a priority," said Worl, noting past efforts by the institute have shown Native children do better academically when they are exposed to Native language and culture in school.

Studies also show that students in early immersion programs often outperform their English-educated peers on tests of achievement in English. In addition, immersion students perform as well as or better than their monolingual English-speaking peers on tests of subject-content mastery in mathematics, science and social studies, according to research.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private, nonprofit founded in 1981 to administer cultural and educational programs for Sealaska Corp. The institute is governed by an all-Native board of trustees. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Language revitalization is a priority of the institute. (Schedule Attached)

CONTACT: Rosita Worl, SHI President, 463-4844

Radio Actuality

Dr. Rosita Worl, SHI president, TRT: :17 - These programs will not only introduce the beginner to the language but also to those who are wanting to teach the language to others. So it has multiple resources for the language learner as well as the language teacher.


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