Begich Campaign Initiates Callouts in Alaska Native Languages

Well-funded U.S. Senate campaigns are reaching out to villages in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in what’s expected to be a hard fought and extremely expensive race. In a year with many firsts for campaigning in Alaska.

Senator Mark Begich speaks with Ivan M. Ivan and Mike Williams at the democrats field office in Bethel. Photo by Ben Matheosn/KYUK.

Sen. Begich’s campaign has sent out automated phone calls with messages that include two Alaska Native language translations.

The Yup’ik version of a message, informs potential voters about early voting. That message went out before the primary. Another message is intended for Inupiaq speakers.

Max Croes is the Communications Director for incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s campaign. He says this is something they plan on continuing.

“We sent calls in Yup’ik to the Y-K Delta reminding people that early voting was open and available, and so we absolutely hope to do more   calls in the future and that’s something that will be available for the general election as well,” says Croes.

Croes says as far as he knows, this is the first time something like this has been done in Alaska, a statement that was repeated by Yup’ik speakers contacted by KYUK.

Begich’s telephone messages were sent to the Y-K Delta, the Bering Strait region, and the North Slope.

The campaign for Republican challenger Dan Sullivan has not sent out messages in Alaska Native Languages to date. Campaign spokespersons Mike Anderson says they are exploring all options and adds that Sullivan plans to reach “every corner of Alaska.”