Sealaska to kick off new lecture series in Juneau

Posted: Friday, November 08, 2002

Distinguished Tlingit linguist Jeff Leer will be the inaugural speaker featured at the new Sealaska Heritage Lecture Series, scheduled Tuesday, Nov. 12.

The lecture series is a new project by Sealaska Heritage Institute meant to tap expertise of Alaska Native language and culture scholars for the benefit of the public, said SHI President Rosita Worl, who conceived of the project.

"At SHI we work with many academic experts in a variety of fields," said Worl, adding SHI also works extensively with traditional scholars, including Native Elders who serve on an advisory panel to the institute called the Council of Traditional Scholars.

"Many of these scholars live elsewhere but come through Juneau, and I saw this lecture series as a way to share their knowledge with the public," said Worl, a Tlingit anthropologist.

The first lecture will focus on the relationship among the Tlingit, Eyak and Athabaskan languages, said Leer, a linguist and teacher at the Alaska Native Language Center in Fairbanks and a professor of Alaska Native languages at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (currently on assignment at UAS).

Leer began studying Tlingit at age 7 in Juneau and in 1991 completed his Ph.D. dissertation, the schetic categories of the Tlingit verb, at the University of Chicago. He has learned to speak Tlingit and Alutiiq, and has done extensive linguistic work in other languages, as well as in the field of comparative Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit.

Publications by Leer include "Athabaskan, Eyak and Tlingit Sonorants (with Michael Krauss), "Ggiwdu.t: Brought Forth to Reconfirm The Legacy of a Taku River Tlingit Clan" (with Elizabeth Nyman), "Interior Tlingit Noun Dictionary" and "The Schetic Categories of the Tlingit Verb."

The lecture is scheduled 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the foyer of the Sealaska Corp. building in downtown Juneau. It is free of charge and open to the public. Subsequent lectures will be scheduled according to availability of scholars.

CONTACT: SHI President Dr. Rosita Worl, 463-4844

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