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News Release

University of Alaska Southeast

This fall the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) will be offering free Alaska Native Language classes with no tuition or fees. Classes are offered in Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian languages at all levels — beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The free classes are for our non-credit courses, but credit can be received if a student chooses to pay tuition and fees.

A full list of classes available can be found at uas.alaska.edu/schedule, along with their descriptions. Our free language courses are offered both in-person and online. Registration links are also available from that page. The free courses are under the AKLA designator, and the tuition courses are under the AKL designator. Students should know that the free options do not count towards degree and certificate requirements.

“The University of Alaska Southeast is committed to recognizing and acknowledging historical wrongs endured by Alaska Native Communities. We are making sure Indigenous people don't have to pay to learn their own language. It's so important in the work towards language revitalization and overall healing,” notes Carin Silkaitis, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. 

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Another exciting announcement is that University of Alaska Southeast will offer a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies starting this fall, which provides a series of courses in fields of Alaska Native Arts, Alaska Native Languages, and Alaska Native Governance. The mission of the degree is to decolonize institutions through Indigenization and inclusion, and ensuring that Alaska Native languages, peoples, histories, and organizations are seen, known, values, and included. The Indigenous Studies Bachelor of Arts is committed to the needs and well-being of Alaska Native communities, and strives to ensure that equity and cultural safety are present and protected in organizations. Students of Indigenous Studies are beneficiaries of Indigenous languages and knowledges, and also stewards for the benefit of future generations. 

One of the coordinators of the program is Dr. X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell, who shared the following thought on offering free language course options: “Education in America for Native American peoples has long been a vehicle of oppression, genocide, and assimilation. Our goal at University of Alaska Southeast is to transform education into a vehicle of opportunity, equity, and healing. As one of our elders, Kaséix̱ Selina Everson said: haa wsineix̱ haa yoo x̱ʼatángi (our language saved us). We intend on honoring the work and words of those who came before us, and look forward to doing all we can to help move our language communities to places of safety." 

Learn more about University of Alaska Southeast programs at uas.alaska.edu or speak to an advisor at 907-796-6100.

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