UAS to host presentation, film series on indigenous languages

Prior to the beginning of the University of Alaska Southeast’s Evening at Egan lecture series, which begins Oct. 2, the university has scheduled a presentation and three-part film series focused on indigenous languages. The following events will be held on Thursday evenings, Sept. 10-Oct. 1, in the Egan Lecture Hall.



Presentation by Greg Guirard, Cajun Author and Photographer, 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10, Egan Lecture Hall

This two-hour talk led by Greg Guirard, Cajun historian and photographer, will focus on Cajuns: who they are, and how they came to South Louisiana (specifically to the Atchafalaya Basin). Guirard’s presentation will feature readings from his books, as well as a slideshow. He will discuss their historical isolation and their resistance to being overly Americanized, even today. “It’s a beautiful way of life and I would hate to see us lose it along with other parts of our identity, such as our Cajun French language, our music, our cooking traditions and our close family ties,” he said in a release. “I encourage questions and discussion on all issues.”


Film Presentation: “Language Matters,” 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 17, Egan Lecture Hall

“Language Matters” is a film by David Grubin, featuring poet Bob Holman. It will be the first of a three-part film series on Endangered Language Continuity, organized by UAS Faculty Alice Taff. Holman will be in attendance, facilitating an audience discussion. A description from the film’s website notes, “There are over 6,000 languages in the whole world. We lose one every two weeks. Hundreds will be lost within the next generation. By the end of this century, half of the world’s languages will have vanished. What do we lose when a language dies? What does it take to save a language?”


Film Presentation: “Rising Voices: Revitalizing the Lakota Language”, 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 24, Egan Lecture Hall

This presentation, part two of the film series, features an opportunity to Skype with the producers/directors before and after the screening of the film. A description from the film’s website reads: “Five years in the making, this multi-platform project tells the story of a powerful threat to a Native culture ... The menace is the English language, and the victim seemingly marked for extinction is the Lakota language itself – the language of the Lakota nation, once usually called the Sioux.”


Film Presentation: “First Language: The Race to Save Cherokee,” 7-9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1, Egan Lecture Hall

The last film in the series focuses on the Cherokee language, and features an opportunity to Skype with the producers/directors before and after the screening of the film. A description from the film’s website reads: “FIRST LANGUAGE - The Race to Save Cherokee is a documentary film about current efforts to revitalize the Cherokee language, ...a vessel of knowledge and identity for the Cherokee people.”


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