FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 16, 2018
Resolution Introduced to Help Preserve Alaska’s Vital Native Languages
HCR 19 Urges Governor Walker to Declare a “Linguistic Emergency”
Juneau – Earlier today, Representative Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) introduced a resolution to help ensure the survival of native languages in Alaska. House Concurrent Resolution 19 urges Alaska Governor Bill Walker to issue an administrative order recognizing that a “linguistic emergency” exists in Alaska. The resolution calls on state agencies, the Alaska State Legislature, Alaska Native organizations, and others to work to strengthen policies to ensure the survival of Alaska Native languages, many of which are on the verge of extinction.
“The loss of a Native language diminishes us all because it represents the loss of a critical piece of our history, culture, and the Alaska way of life. I fear that without fluent speakers and new learners these unique, beautiful, and significant languages will disappear forever. I put forward this resolution because I don’t believe anyone wants to see that happen,” said Rep. Ortiz.
Last month, the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council called for the Governor to issue an administrative order recognizing a “linguistic emergency” in Alaska because Alaska’s Native languages are in crisis. They further warned that most of the 20 recognized indigenous languages in Alaska are predicted to become extinct by the end of the 21st century unless there are policy changes to support the learning and speaking of these languages.
“I don’t want to see any of our Native languages disappear and will work with every member of the House and Senate to get this resolution to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible,” said Rep. Ortiz.
House Concurrent Resolution 19 was formally introduced this morning and was referred to the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee.
For more information, please contact Alaska House Majority Coalition Press Secretary Mike Mason at (907) 444-0889.