SHI designed the Our Ancestors' Echoes program to increase the number of Alaska Native students in Southeast Alaska who have access to educators teaching their heritage language. Building on the success of the Our Language Pathway project, this work also prioritizes supporting and retaining current language educators, increasing wider access to language courses, and supporting mental health and healing work in the community. Additionally, the program includes the establishment of an immersive language community for 6 scholars enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in Indigenous Studies in Language at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and the publication of language resources in X̱aad Kíl, Sm'algyax, and Lingít.
SHI funds scholarships for language students enrolled at the University of Alaska Southeast who are studying Xaad Kíl, Sm’algyax, and Lingít.
SHI funds scholarships for Native language students seeking bachelor’s degrees to further perpetuate Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian languages in the establishment of learning nests.
Through the three-year program, selected candidates are expected to:
- Spend four hours weekly listening to audio in their heritage language;
- Spend each year with an advanced language speaker translating and transcribing 15 minutes of archival audio;
- Attend SHI’s healing Summer Language Program each year;
- Obtain a bachelor's degree in Indigenous studies with an emphasis on Alaska Native Languages.