Arctic Field Projects

Project Title: Conference: Sharing Knowledge about Language and Environmental Change (Award# 1907979)

PI: Taff, Alice (
Phone: (907) 957.2208 
Institute/Department: U of Alaska, Southeast,  
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ASSP
Program Manager: Dr. Joan Maling (
Discipline(s): | Education and Outreach | Social and Human Sciences |

Project Web Site(s):

Science Summary:
This award supports a multidisciplinary conference that brings together participants from three Alaska Native language communities (Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian) together with Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics to generate data that supports resilience and tracks language viability. The Native American Languages Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1990, recognizes the unique status and value of Native American languages. These three communities have experienced significant environmental and social change, and each has survived; with the lessons from these experiences embedded in languages, offering valuable insight into cultural resilience and the potential to define new research questions. Broader impacts of the conference include increased opportunity to engage underrepresented Alaska Native youth in STEM, the potential to foster new and innovative research collaborations, and the video recordings of conference presentations, which will be publicly available online for broad dissemination. The "Sharing Our Knowledge" (SOK) conference provides a venue for interaction between Indigenous language speakers, learners, and scientists from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, linguistics, ecology, meteorology and hydrology. SOK encourages and documents the use of Indigenous languages throughout the conference, including usage surrounding the wide range of participating disciplines. Attendees are primed to examine concepts in the three languages. These activities are in line with convergent, transdisciplinary approaches underlying other initiatives, including the Big Ideas at the National Science Foundation. Face to face interactions at the conference enable participants to draw on their diverse backgrounds to investigate regional social and environmental issues and inform resilience-based approaches for future planning in regional and other Indigenous communities. The public availability of presentations contributes to the enhancement and improvement of STEM by stimulating Alaska Native language use, as well as document, and disseminate cutting-edge exchanges of information concerning historic, current and future resilience among participating Alaska Indigenous nations in the face of numerous changes.

Logistics Summary:
This grant supports the Sharing Our Knowledge: A Conference of Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian Tribes & Clans to be held in Juneau, Alaska, September 26 through 29 of 2019. Sharing Our Knowledge (SOK) is a forum to investigate ancient and contemporary matters of the Tlingit (a primary branch of the Na-Dené language family) Haida (a language isolate), and Tsimshian (a language isolate) of Southeast Alaska. The 2019 SOK theme “Indigenous Knowledge related to Climate Change,” is encapsulated in the Tlingit word Shukalx_úx_s', ‘calling the end back to the beginning’. SOK 2019 conference topics will represent a wide-range of areas of current research particular to the issue of climate change. Fifty some events, plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, excursions, film screenings, and performances will take place. No fieldwork will be conducted.

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Parameters used to generate this report:, Grant# = "1907979", IPY = "ALL" 
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