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17th Annual Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Keynote Speakers:
Patsy Whitefoot
Helen & Alan Dick
Leanne Hinton

Helen Dick

Helen Dick

Helen was born in a tent during spring camp after WWII. Her mom passed away and she was raised mostly by her grandparents. Helen never attended formal school, but was raised speaking her language and living off the land. She is now considered one of the foremost culture bearers for the Dena’ina people of Alaska, keeping the language and traditional technology alive.

Alan Dick

Alan Dick

At age 20, Alan hitch-hiked to Alaska, married Helen, and lived subsistence for 15 years before getting a B.Ed. in Cross Cultural Education from UAF. Alan and Helen have always live in the roadless portions of Alaska, teaching in small villages and later developing curriculum for village schools. They currently develop video language lessons for the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

Leanne Hinton

Leanne Hinton

Leanne Hinton is a linguist specializing in language loss and language revitalization. She has written numerous books and articles about language revitalization, and consults with groups around the world. Professor Hinton is a professor emerita at the University of California at Berkeley, and a founding member of the board of the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. Her books on language revitalization include Flutes of Fire: Essays on California Indian Languages (Heyday Books), The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice (Hinton & Hale, eds.) and How to Keep Your Language Alive (Heyday Books).

Patricia Whitefoot

Patricia Whitefoot

Born and raised in the original homelands of the Yakama Nation, Patricia Whitefoot lives in White Swan, WA where she was raised by her maternal grandparents. She continues to live in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains where early lessons learned were grounded in the natural environment. Frequent family trips along the Columbia River to fish and gather the traditional foods and visit family fostered a deep relationship among extended family and the diverse regional environment.

At the urging of her grandmother, Patsy obtained a B.A. with a Teaching Certificate in Education from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA and a M.A. from Ft. Wright College in Spokane, WA. She has been teaching and managing Indian Education programs from preschool to higher education at the local, tribal, and state level for almost 40 years. Today, she is the “Palatisha Miyanashma” Indian Education Director with Toppenish School District. She is currently serves as the President of the National Indian Education Association and the Washington State Indian Education Association. She also serves as the Chair of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Education Committee, which she has held for almost 20 years.

She has three children who all graduated from White Swan High School and she also has ten grandchildren. In rearing her children and supporting her grandchildren and extended family, she is always amazed in the children’s natural gift for learning. In her role as President of the National Indian Education Association (with a 3,000 membership), she advocates her ancestors’ visions for holistic health, well-being and the spiritual needs of Native people and the environment.

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