St. Paul Island 1WAYK is thrilled to finally announce the details of our 2015 Summer Intensive! After many weeks of behind-the-scenes work with our host community and organizations, we can officially say: we are headed to St. Paul Island, Alaska! The language we’ll be working with there is Unangam Tunuu (also known as Eastern Aleut), an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken in the eastern part of the Aleutian island chain as well as the Pribilof Islands. We are undertaking this project in partnership with APIA (the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association) and with support from ACSPI (the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island).

This summer five WAYK players, including 3 WAYK interns, as well as members of the regional Unangam Tunuu core team, and fluent Unangam Tunuu speakers will travel to St. Paul Island to work with their local language team, headed up by Aquilina Lestenkof and Anna Melovidov. St. Paul Island, located in the Bering Sea, is remarkable for many reasons, notably as “the historic breeding grounds of the world’s largest population of northern fur seals.” The thematic focus of our language work this summer will be centered around the annual subsistence harvest of these fur seals.

Over the course of the Summer Intensive (June 1st-August 15th) our goals will be: to train all project participants in the fundamentals of WAYK, to engage in regular and frequent immersion sessions with fluent speakers, to develop and test language lessons based on our immersion investigation, to document our language work, and to design Unangam Tunuu materials that can be used by learners teach basic lessons and to create an artificial immersion environment in their daily lives.

The host communities for past WAYK summer projects have included: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (2011), Yurok Nation (2012), Kodiak Island (2013), and Tsleil-Waututh Nation (2014).

Written by Evan Gardner