The Alaska House of Representatives has urged Gov. Bill Walker to declare a “linguistic emergency” in order to protect Alaska Native languages.
The Juneau Empire reports that on Monday, the House passed a resolution to the Senate calling for the governor to protect native languages.
Independent state Rep. Dan Ortiz of Ketchikan, the resolution’s sponsor, says he strongly believes the emergency declaration is warranted “because of the predictions that many of Alaska’s languages will become extinct by the end of the century.”
The Alaska Native Languages Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks recognizes 20 distinct Alaska Native languages. Of those, one has no fluent speakers; another has only one fluent speaker who is more than 90 years old. All are considered threatened.