WAYK's 2016 interns, Erin McGarvey, Samuel Catanach, and Robyn Giffen on the beach at Nazan Bay in Atka, Alaska, preparing to board the Tiĝlax̂.

WAYK’s 2016 interns, Erin McGarvey, Samuel Catanach, and Robyn Giffen on the beach at Nazan Bay in Atka, Alaska, preparing to board the Tiĝlax̂.

When we opened up our application for summer WAYK interns in January, our summer intensive in Atka, AK seemed very far in the future. This year, it is wonderful that we are once again able to offer three sponsored intern positions for the summer, thanks to the support of the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, the Aleut Foundation, and the Atka IRA. The quality of the applications we received this year was stellar, and while we are extremely fortunate to be able to bring three interns with us to Atka, we always wish we could expand our team to include even more applicants. It is tremendous that so many people are willing to volunteer their summers to support a community of strangers working towards the common goal of keeping languages thriving and vital.

After so many months of preparation, our project in Atka is officially underway and we are very excited to introduce you to our interns! We’re so happy that these three have chosen to join us in Atka this summer. We know that they will make a great team, that together they will support the language work of our host community, and that their insights and imagination will make important contributions to WAYK.

This summer we have two new WAYK interns: Erin McGarvey and Samuel Catanach.

Erin McGarvey (instagram: @erinmajialei)

Hi! I’m Erin McGarvey!  I’m one of the CanadianWAYK Interns en route to Dutch Harbor, Alaskas on this year’s WAYK team.  I am from London, Ontario.  I have just finished my undergraduate degree at Western University in London, ON where I specialized in Linguistics and majored in Music.  I will be beginning a Master’s program in Linguistics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton starting September, 2016. I am super excited to be here with the WAYK team to learn and collaborate with the community to preserve and revitalize their language!

Samuel Catanach

Hi! I’m Samuel. The place I call home is the Pueblo of Pojoaque, an American Indian community located in northern New Mexico. Being that I am a learner of my heritage language, Tewa, as well as a strong proponent of indigenous language revitalization in general, I was naturally drawn to Where Are Your Keys? and what they do. I’m beyond excited for what the summer holds, what I’ll hopefully be able to contribute to the team and community of Atka, and what new skills and knowledge I’ll take back with me once it’s all over.

Our veteran intern this summer is Robyn Giffen, who joined us for the first time last year on St. Paul. You may have seen Robyn’s reflections on her first WAYK Summer Intensive posted here on the WAYK site over the past several months. We are very excited to have Robyn join us again this summer!

Robyn Giffen (instagram: @robynlgiffen / twitter: @robynlgiffen)

My name is Robyn Giffen and I live in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. I have a Master’s degree in linguistic anthropology and have spent the last year teaching linguistic anthropology courses at UBC. I was introduced to WAYK in 2014 and had my first experience with the WAYK technique as an intern in St. Paul, Alaska in the summer of 2015. I’m very excited to be returning as an intern this year to hone my language hunting and project development skills and am so happy to be back in beautiful Alaska learning more Unangam Tunuu!

We’re off to a great start here on Atka! Stay tuned for more updates about our summer project. We are @playWAYK on twitter and instagram.

WAYK's 2016 Intern Team

Written by Evan Gardner