I, Bill Walker, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24, Constitution of the State of Alaska, find and direct the following:
The State of Alaska is home to 21 official languages including Inupiaq, Siberian Yupik, Central Alaskan Yup’ik, Alutiiq, Unangax̂, Dena’ina, Deg Xinag, Holikachuk, Koyukon, Upper Kuskokwim, Gwich’in, Tanana, Upper Tanana, Tanacross, Hän, Ahtna, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and English.
In recognition of the importance of Alaska Native languages, in 2012, the State of Alaska created the Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council (ANLPAC) to support the preservation, restoration and revitalization of Alaska Native languages (AS 44.33.520). In its 2018 report, the ANLPAC documented the loss and potential extinction of the official 20 Alaska Native languages and recognized a linguistic emergency. As discussed in House Concurrent Resolution 19, urging Governor Bill Walker to recognize a linguistic emergency, it is the policy of the State of Alaska to support the survival of all its official languages and to support their perpetuation and inclusion in public institutions.
It is the policy of the State of Alaska to recognize Alaska Tribes’ sovereignty by interacting and engaging with Alaska Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In October of 2015, the Governor established the Governor’s Tribal Advisory Council to provide a forum for open, respectful, and informed dialogue on the full range of issues facing the Tribes and recommend action for opportunities for the Tribes and the State. Additionally, in recognition of Alaska Tribes’ sovereignty, and to benefit all Alaskans, we must increase collaboration between the Executive Branch, Alaska Tribes, and the Alaska Native community. The State also recognizes that Alaska Tribes have created, empowered, and supported tribal organizations, including regional non-profit organizations, to further Alaska Tribes’ interests in strengthening services and governance, and to advance Alaska Tribes’ sovereignty, self-determination and self-governance.
Several organizations in Alaska are engaged in the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) endeavor – a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. The State of Alaska recognizes its role as a partner to this endeavor in the path toward a better understanding of the causes of Alaska Native cultural and language loss in the State of Alaska.
Through the directives of this Order, we will improve government-to-government relations with Alaska Tribes and take steps to work actively to promote the survival and strengthening of Alaska Native languages, so that they shall thrive into the next century and beyond.
Under the authority of Article III, Sections 1 and 24, Constitution of the State of Alaska, I, Bill Walker, Governor of the State of Alaska, order that:
- Revitalize, Restore, and Preserve Alaska Native Languages: Education, Names and Signage
There is a linguistic emergency and the State of Alaska is in danger of the extinction of our official 20 Alaska Native languages.
I direct the Commissioner of the Department of Education and Early Development to:
- Facilitate collaboration and coordination among the ANLPAC, the State university, State agencies, and other governmental, private, and nonprofit entities involved in Alaska Native languages to implement result-oriented options to promote Alaska Native languages in public schools and universities; and
- Develop pathways to expand government, private and nonprofit partnerships to address Alaska Native language preservation and revitalization; and
- Present a report to the governor by June 1, 2019 that sets out steps to address the recommendations of the ANLPAC 2018 Report.
- Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council
It is requested that ANLPAC make recommendations to strengthen its capacity to meet this linguistic emergency.
- Place Names and Signage
The State of Alaska will support the use of Alaska Native place names, consistent with applicable law, including the recognition of traditional Alaska Native place names, and the use of such place names in State-supported projects and in public signage.Each principal department, through their Commissioners, shall strive to assure that all newly created, replaced, or reprinted state and local highway and marine signage contain accurately spelled traditional Alaska Native place names.
- Consultation and Collaboration and Department Liaison
The Commissioner of each principal department will officially designate a tribal liaison to work closely with the Commissioner, to aid in producing a written plan to address specifics for engagement in consultation and collaboration with Alaska Tribes, tribal organizations, Alaska Native community, and the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) endeavor, consistent with each departments’ respective missions and funding sources. The written plan shall include actions designed to facilitate the government-to-government relationship between the department and Alaska Tribes, and will describe how the department will participate in the TRHT endeavor. The Commissioner will implement the plan.
- State Authorized Entities or Public Corporations
Other state entities, including a public corporation or authority, are encouraged, consistent with their statutory purpose and organization, to honor this government-to-government relationship and to enhance collaboration and strengthen partnerships with Alaska Tribes.
Nothing in this Administrative Order limits, or otherwise modifies, any existing statutory or regulatory authority of any State agency.
This Order takes effect immediately.
DATED at Juneau, Alaska, this 23rd day of September 2018.