Upper Tanana Glossary – Scottie Creek Dialect

Upper Tanana Glossary – Scottie Creek Dialect
Author: Bessie John with the assistance from Daniel Tlen
Publisher: Upper Tanana Cultural Society
Publication date: 1997
Number of pages: 89
Format: PDF / scanned – double spread – not too good
Size: 2,60 MB

Upper Tanana Cultural Society
General Delivery
Beaver Creek, Yukon Y0B 1A0
Sponsored by the Canada-Yukon Cooperation and Funding Agreement on the Development and Enhancement of Aboriginal Languages (1997-98)
Acknowledgdements i
Introduction iii
Possessive Pronouns v
Guide for Noun Possession
Topical Glossary 1
Abstract Nouns
Body Products, Conditions, and Diseases
Camp and Household
Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping
Foods, Beverages, Tobacco, and Medicines
Land and Water
Numbers – How Many?
People and Relations
Shelter and Buildings
Appendix Spelling Conventions 77
-Vowels and consonants arranged alphabetically
-Oral and nasal vowels
-Oral and nasal diphthongs
Chart of Consonant Sounds
Index 85
In March of 1995, Doris John who then worked as both a language instructor in the Beaver Creek school as well as for Aboriginal Language Services, approached the Upper Tanana Cultural Society about undertaking a project which would result in a glossary of the Scottie Creek area dialect of Upper Tanana. The Upper Tanana Cultural Society agreed to take this project on, and asked Daniel Tlen to assist Doris and Bessie John in this work.
Bessie John provided Upper Tanana names, providing words and sentences for the many objects and ideas. Mary Tyone, a speaker of the Scottie Creek dialect, also contributed her knowledge of the Upper Tanana language. Doris John assisted both elders in working with the linguist.
Daniel Tlen transcribed and collated the words and sentences in the glossary and the Appendices.
The draft Glossary was reviewed by both Jim Kari, Professor of Linguistics, University of Alaska Fairbanks and John Ritter, Director of the Yukon Native Language Centre.
Roberta Sembsnoen provided administrative and other coordinating support to enable the project to take place.
Aboriginal Language Services, Executive Council Office, Government of the Yukon, provide the bulk of financial assistance, as well as other support for this project, since 1995.
K-L Services of Whitehorse provided design and layout work.
The photo of Bessie John on the front cover was taken by Wayne Towriss for the Yukon Native Language Centre.
It is our hope that this glossary complement the language retention efforts of Bessie John, Lou Johns-Penikett and Doris John, to revive the use of the language of our grandparents.
Sid Vander Meer
President, Upper Tanana Cultural Society
The traditional territory of the speakers of Upper Tanana Scottie Creek dialect straddles the Alaska Yukon International Boundary near Beaver Creek, Yukon Territory. Some members from the area have family ties to the Northway and Tetlin, Tanacross, and Dot Lake Alaskan communities. The Scottie Creek dialect is related to the aboriginal linguistic communities that cover the region from western Yukon at Scottie Creek, Snag River, Beaver Creek and Coffee Creek on the Yukon River, to central eastern Alaska in the Chinasa River headwaters and upper reaches of the Tanana River down to Tolovana River, including the Tolovana and Toklat drainages. A historical perspective to the Upper Tanana people is provided in The Upper Tanana Indians, by Robert A. McKennan (Department of Anthropology, Yale University, 1959).
The family of White River Johnny have continued to follow the traditional pursuits of living off the land – hunting, trapping and fishing. In the early 1960s, the Department of Indian Affairs tried to move White River Johnny to Beaver Creek. However, he adamantly refused, stating that he was quite capable of feeding his children and providing a home.
Today, Bessie John, daughter of White River Johnny, carries on the work of passing her traditional langauge on through her daughter, Doris, who in turn teaches children at the public school in Beaver Creek.
This version of the Glossary is a preliminary version only. It represents our best attempt to produce a written form of the Upper Tanana language, a form which is still evolving. The spelling conventions used in this glossary closely follow the Yukon Native Language Centre publication Upper Tanana Language Lessons – Scottie Creek dialect, 1994.

Remarks: Amerindian, Athabaskan, Upper Tanana, Scottie Creek, Yukon, Canada

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