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Alutiiq Studies Program Recognizes Recent Graduates

four people, two in cap and gown

On Thursday Sept. 21, 2017, Kodiak College was proud to participate in a celebration of achievement for two students, Ephimia Moonin-Wilson and Brandon Moonin, who were recognized for their completion of their Occupational Endorsement Certificates (OEC’s) in Alutiiq Language from Kodiak College.  Libby Eufemio, Asst. Professor of Alaska Native Studies and head of the Alutiiq Studies Program, traveled to Anchorage to participate in the ceremony at the offices of Chugachmiut, Inc. 

Ephimia Moonin-Wilson of Port Graham, AK and Brandon Moonin of Tatitlek, AK, spent a year taking distance courses from the Alutiiq Studies Program at Kodiak College.  To earn the certificate, they took 16 credits of coursework and passed an oral proficiency language exam at an Intermediate Low level.  Kodiak College Director Alan Fugleberg stated “The program the students completed is not easy, it involves dedication, self-discipline, and hard work. They should be proud of themselves and their accomplishments.”

The students received funding to earn their Alutiiq Language OEC’s through Chugachmiut, Inc.’s Heritage Preservation Department, whose goal is to prevent Sugt’stun language loss and promote the language in the schools.  (Sugt’stun is the traditional name of the Alutiiq language).  They are currently employed to take college-level classes and assist in teaching Alutiiq in their local schools, while gaining mastery in the Alutiiq language themselves.

The Alutiiq Studies Program was created seven years ago at Kodiak College with the mission of providing career preparation and professional development rooted in Alutiiq culture and values.  Alutiiq language speakers, Dr. Alicia Drabek and Dr. April Laktonen Counceller, were integral in establishing the program, which was initially funded through a federal grant (Title III Dept. of Education/Alaska Education grant).  The Alutiiq Studies Program offers students located everywhere the opportunity to learn the Alutiiq language and culture via both face-to-face and distance instruction, and provides students the opportunity to not only preserve the language and gain culturally relevant skills, but also earn an economically useful OEC in Alutiiq Language.

Ephimia Moonin-Wilson and Brandon Moonin are the seventh and eight graduates of the Alutiiq Language OEC at Kodiak College.  Both are also currently pursuing their AA degrees, and hope to become State of Alaska Type M certified teachers of Alutiiq in their home school districts.  Their Kodiak College Alutiiq Language teacher Peggy Azuyak sent words of congratulations to the students,

“Atagua! Silugtua! Pektaarllriatek! - They did good! I am proud! They both worked hard!”