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The Alutiiq Museum’s Naken-Natmen (where from – where to) Project is an online Alutiiq language archive which provides access to the Alutiiq Museum’s language recordings to the public and community members.
“The Naken-Natmen project is an effort to engage language learners, speakers, and linguistic researchers in language revitalization by making language archives accessible.”
Qik’rtarmiut Alutiit Language Advisory Council Alutiiq Elders. Elders who have contributed to this portal include Nick Alokli, Kathryn Chichenoff, Clyda Christensen, Mary Haakanson, Susan Malutin, Julia Naughton, Florence Pestrikoff, Phyllis Peterson, and Sophie Shepherd.
Naken-Natmen project is a three year project aimed at simultaneously looking back at past research and recordings, while also looking forward to future research and documentation. The project title “Naken-Natmen” or “Where from-Where to” reflects this dual focus. Based on factors used to evaluate the status of threatened languages, the Alutiiq language shows signs it could be lost within ten years unless significant, unified efforts ensure its survival. These signs include: rapidly decreasing numbers of speakers, only elder advanced fluency, little spoken language at home or in gatherings, and parents who do not or can not teach Alutiiq to their children. Crawford, J. (1995). Bilingual education: History, politics, theory, and practice. 3rd ed. Los Angeles, CA: Bilingual Educational Services. In year one of the project, the Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA) partnered with the Alutiiq Museum to reach the Naken-Natmen project goal: “to improve research and community access to Alutiiq language research sources within local and state archives”. Mukurtu.net provided a portal for collaborators to access heritage items while also controlling access to sensitive items based on cultural protocols. Kelley Shanahan, Mukurtu Services Manager at CoDA, travelled to the Museum in Kodiak, Alaska to work closely with the core Naken-Natmen team to not only train on how to import heritage items, but also to find inspiration for the look and design for the project page. In the end, almost all of the materials available online were imported by the newly trained museum staff.
Community members, researchers, language speakers, and learners have the opportunity to contribute to this database by commenting on materials of interest or importance to you. Knowledge shared through the online language portal about speakers, linguistic markers, remembered words or phrases is priceless as little time remains to access the linguistic knowledge of the last generation of fluent, first language speakers. Visit the archive at https://alutiiqmuseum.mukurtu.net/ or contact Michael Bach: firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
“From a museum’s perspective, it’s (typically) hard to keep routine material protected in a way the donor or lender sees fit… … Mukurtu allows you to restrict access according to clan, gender, age” (from Shalev, Asaf. Looking to preserve Native culture? There’s an app for that. Alaska Dispatch News. 31 October, 2015) Michael Bach