Most of Alaska’s twenty Native languages are going extinct. Lance Twitchell is a bilingual artist who is bucking that tide. He worked hard to learn Tlingit, a language used by his family for thousands of years. Tlingits have a rich and complex high civilization along the Pacific coast in Southeast Alaska famous for its totem poles, clan system, regalia, rich poetry and formal rhetoric.
Lance is one of growing number of young Tlingits who sought out elders and others to help teach themselves to speak the language, trying to make it an everyday reality for their families. He dreams of seeing and hearing his language everywhere – on the radio, in newspapers and on the web. Here, he speaks with monolingual reporter Johanna Eurich about his interest in reviving Native languages. Warning: the discussion is 12 minutes long and moves between Tlingit and English without translation. Lance starts out introducing himself and his clan relations in Tlingit.
Lance Twitchell, a Tlingit artist and language activist speaking with journalist
Johanna Eurich. ###