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Video: 20 Alaska Native Languages Become Official State Languages

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell signed House Bill 216 on October 23 designating 20 Native languages as official languages of the State of Alaska.
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During the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell signed House Bill 216 designating 20 Native languages as official languages of the State of Alaska. He signed the bill amid cheering Alaska Natives gathered for the convention in Anchorage.

“It’s a recognition of the languages that compose a rich cultural landscape of this great state,” Parnell says in a video posted to YouTube. “It gives dignity and honor to those languages that exist and they should have had that honor so much sooner.”

Tlingit Haida Central Council/Facebook

It was a historic day for Alaska Native languages, which made for a packed room on October 23, 2014 when House Bill 216 was signed by Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell.

“This is a historic moment for Alaska Native People. It is a victory for us, and all of our relations,” said Alaska Native Heritage Center President and CEO Annette Evans Smith in a press release. “It is for the 10,000 years of ancestors who came before and the 10,000 years that will follow us. They will know we fought for our languages and our way of life, and they will know that we won.”

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins’ Office

A group shot of some of those present for the signing of House Bill 216 on October 23, 2014.

Watch the signing here: