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Thursday, 3 March 2011

Alaska's Culture & Wildlife



Ancient Alaska Language Receives New Voice

When Chief Marie Smith Jones passed away in 2008, many people thought that the Eyak language was silenced forever. But the indigenous language of Southcentral Alaska was given a new voice through the Eyak Language Project's new Word of the Week that can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/eyaklanguageproject. The program was launched last month giving site visitors a chance to read, hear and learn to pronounce words from the ancient language. Visitors can learn more about Alaska's 11 Native cultural groups at the Alaska Native Heritage Centre in Anchorage. The cultural centre and museum opened a new Athabascan ceremonial house in January 2011, serving as a functional place for gatherings and meetings and to educate visitors about Athabascan history and culture. The building will also be used as an exhibit and location for future language classes. For more information, visit www.AlaskaNative.net.

Birdwatchers Gear Up For Springtime Festivals

Bears aren't the only mammals that emerge in Alaska's springtime, as bird watchers from around the world gear up for some annual birding festivals that are worth the wait. The Stikine River Delta in Alaska's Inside Passage is a major stop on the Pacific Flyway for over 14,000 snow geese, over 10,000 sandhill cranes and more than 2,000 eagles, the largest springtime concentration of eagles in North America. The community of Wrangell celebrates the return of these feathery attractions with the annual Stikine River Shorebird Festival to be held April 28 through May 1. Wildlife and birding expeditions on the Stikine River anchor the four-day event that began more than a decade ago as the community's Garnet Festival. For more information, visit www.stikinebirding.org. In Prince William Sound, the tidal flats of the Copper River Delta near Cordova shimmer with the activity of hundreds of thousands of shorebirds each May. Visitors can view the birds and participate in workshops and community events during the 2011 Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, May 5-8, 2011. The Cordova Chamber will have updated information in the coming months at www.cordovachamber.com.

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