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Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council

Council Members

The Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council members are appointed by the Governor of Alaska, and serve three-year terms. Council members are Alaska Native language professionals who provide recommendations for and foster the development of a comprehensive statewide Alaska Native language policy, strategy for improving the preservation, restoration and revitalization of Alaska Native languages.

Representative CJ McCormick

Senator Donald Olson - Inupiaq
Senator Donald Olson

Senator Donald Olson is Inupiaq from Golovin. Lifelong Alaskan, Senator Olson was born in Nome and is a doctor, pilot, reindeer herder, businessman and Legislator. He and wife Willow have four children: Colby, Martin, Donald Jr.and Maggie Rae.

Kay Larson-Blair - Yup'ik, Unangan, Cherokee


Ms. Larson-Blair from Dillingham and Tahlequah, Oklahoma (Cherokee Nation), is of Yup’ik, Unangan, Cherokee, and European heritage. She takes pride in her mixed cultural identity and is a tribal member of the Curyung Tribe. She currently calls Anchorage home, where she has raised her two daughters. Kay serves as the Cultural Heritage Program Director at the Bristol Bay Foundation where her work focuses on supporting language revitalization and reclamation efforts and grant management. Throughout her career she has strived to bridge the gap between tradition and the contemporary world, ensuring the preservation and celebration of Alaska's rich cultural heritage and knowledge systems.

Annette Evans Smith - Athabascan, Alutiiq and Yup'ik
Annette Evans Smith

Evans Smith, of Anchorage, is the Alaska Native Heritage Center President and CEO, where she has worked in several roles since 2003. Under her leadership, the center has initiated a statewide language summit, two pilot language immersion camps, language circles, and a study to identify Alaska Native language programs and learners of Alaska Native languages. The Center's hope is to connect Alaska Native residents in Anchorage to the language programs that exist across Alaska. Her prior work involves service with Southcentral Foundation and The Northern Forum. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University and is also a trustee with the Western States Arts Federation. Evans Smith is actively learning the Yup’ik language through her grandmother and more recently Denaakk'e (Koyukon Athabascan) from teachers Susan Paskvan, Eliza Jones, and Esther McCarty.

Walkie Charles - Yup'ik
Walkie Portrait

Dr. Charles, of Fairbanks, a fluent, first-language speaker of Yup’ik, is an associate professor of Yup'ik and Director of the Alaska Native Language Center (ANLC) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He is the first Alaska Native Director of ANLC. The Yup'ik language is one of two Alaska Native languages with bachelor’s degree programs; the other being Inupiaq. He grew up in Emmonak speaking Norton Sound Kotlik and lower Yukon Yup'ik dialects. He earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a master's degree at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Ph.D. in applied linguistics at UAF. His research interests are second language acquisition, dynamic assessment, and socio-cultural theory. A key interest of his is maintaining his language through teaching it at all educational levels. Charles also heads the Yup'ik Program at UAF. Dr. Charles was the Inaugural Chair of ANLPAC from 2012 to 2013.

X'unei Lance Twitchell, Vice-Chair - Tlingit, Haida, Yup’ik, and Sami
X’unei Lance Twitchell

Xh’unei, Lance A. Twitchell, is associate professor of Alaska Native Languages at the University of Alaska Southeast.

Yaayuk Bernadette Alvanna-Stimpfle, Chair - Inupiaq
 Yaayuk Bernadette Alvanna-Stimpfle

Ms. Alvanna-Stimpfle, of Nome, is a fluent, first-language speaker of Inupiaq and is the director of the Kawerak, Inc. Eskimo Heritage Program, and a doctoral candidate at Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. She has taught with Nome Public Schools for twenty-five years as a Bilingual-Bicultural Inupiaq language and culture teacher, a classroom teacher and worked with English as Second Language students and English Language Learners. She has taught Inupiaq at the Northwest Campus of the University of Alaska in Nome for many years. She has also worked as a teacher mentor for the Alaska Statewide Mentoring Project. From 1998-2008, Alvanna-Stimpfle was involved with the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative where Native educators from all over the state developed standards for Culturally Responsive School Standards and ways to teach students from the Indigenous perspective. She is a member of the King Island Drummers and Dancers and a former member of the King Island Native Community Tribal Council. She is a member of the King Island Native Community Elders committee. Alvanna-Stimpfle holds a master’s degree in Education in Language and Literacy and a bachelor’s degree in Inupiaq language from UAF.

For more information about the Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council contact:

D. Roy Mitchell, IV
Research Analyst
Division of Community and Regional Affairs
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
Phone: 907-269-3646