The Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has published a new Athabascan dictionary.
The “Dena’ina Topical Dictionary ” is an effort to document and preserve Alaska’s Native languages. The university said this is the most complete topical dictionary for any of the 20 Alaska Native languages.
Dena’ina is also known as Tanaina and is a language spoken by Alaska’s Athabascan Indians.
It was spoken by the original inhabitants of the Cook Inlet region in southcentral Alaska.
The university said that today about 75 of the 900 Dena’ina people in Alaska speak their Native language.
Dictionary editor Tom Alton said public awareness and interest in the Dena’ina people has recently increased throughout southcentral Alaska.
James Kari, professor emeritus of Athabascan languages, is the dictionary’s author.
The university said Kari has worked with over 100 Dena’ina speakers since 1972.