Language Nests

Brief History

The first Language Nests (Kōhanga reo) began in Aotearoa (New Zealand) in 1982. Broadly, they are spaces where fluent speakers immerse young learners in their language.

Programs in Alaska

Language nests have popped up in...

Xántsii Náay opened in 2018 in Hydaburg, teaching little ones Xaad Kíl (Haida).

Iḷisaġvik College’s Uqautchim Uglua (Language Nest) program approached the end of its second year of operation as a strong, vibrant force in the effort to indigenize education on the North Slope. It is currently out of operation, but its website is still active.

The Tamamta Liitukut Project's (translated as “Everyone is Learning”) end goal is to develop a culturally-relevant Kodiak Alutiiq immersion language nest for preschool-aged children with outreach services for all age groups to sustain Alutiiq as a living language.

Unglu means “nest” in Yup'ik and is part of the larger endeavor, Wangkuta Qanriarait Nanvarparmiut Yugestun, which means “We all speak Lake Iliamna Yup’ik.”

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Language Immersion Nests

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Updated March 2021. 

All images and maps are courtesy of the Alaska Native Language Archive and the Alaska Native Language Center

Original funding for this site provided by Alaska Humanities Forum with in-kind support from the Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council. Quyana to the volunteers who assist in keeping this website running. 

This website acknowledges the traditional territories of the many Indigenous Alaskan Nations that have lived in and taken care of the lands of Alax̂sxax̂ (Alaska) since time immemorial.