Students Speak as Native Elders and Youth Conference Wraps Up

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The Native Elders and Youth Conference is wrapping up in Fairbanks tonight with a potlatch.

The annual pre-cursor to the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention brings together performers and presenters to teach, entertain and inspire.

Marjorie Tahbone of Nome talked the challenge and reward of learning her Inupaiq language.  The University of Alaska Fairbanks student says three years of courses taught her grammar and words, but to be able to speak she needed complete immersion.

Tahbone says it was an intimidating experience to learn to speak Inupiaq.

Tahbone says she’s not as fluent as she’d like, but can better communicate with her grandmother and other elders, even though the dialect in Nome is different from the one spoken in Nunuvut.

Another speaker at the Elders and Youth Conference, Ma Ka Mont Ure, a high school senior from Yakutat, talked about mixing life as an American teenager with traditional ways.

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