Senate moves to protect native language

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The Alaska Senate voted unanimously for a resolution to declare a linguistic emergency for Alaska native languages.

    The members of the Tlingit and Haida 83rd annual assembly marched to the Capital last Thursday to support the bill.

    Senator Berta Gardner said native language is very important in Alaska, "Urgency, emergency, I understand the perspective that emergency is life threatening.  We are talking about the ongoing death of a culture.  For some people with family and traditions here, it is a death."

    The Senate had debated the use of the terms urgency or emergency for the past week.

    The Senate Rules Committee at first voted down the amendment to place emergency in the resolution.

    Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche said emergency was too strong a term,  "I think this recognizes the urgency or the immediate need to take action.  When I think of emergency I think of immediate, life safety, life or death."

    The Senate did remove wording to ask the governor for an administrative order to declare the emergency.


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