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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


Kay has ancestral ties to Dillingham, Iliamna, Old Togiak, Sanak Island, Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, and throughout Europe. Kay takes pride in her mixed-cultural identity and is a tribal member of the Curyung Tribe. Her upbringing was split between Bristol Bay and Oklahoma, and she currently calls Anchorage home, where she has raised her two daughters. Currently, Kay holds the position of Cultural Heritage Program Director with the Bristol Bay Foundation. Recently, in May 2022, the Foundation organized the inaugural Bristol Bay Indigenous Language Summit, and over the next ten years, the Cultural Program under Kay's leadership will continue to prioritize promoting and nurturing indigenous language opportunities for Bristol Bay's indigenous communities. Additionally, Kay is the volunteer CEO of Yuuciput Preservation, a non-profit organization that endeavors to transcribe and translate historical audio and video recordings from Bristol Bay to make them accessible to the public. Kay is a staunch advocate of improving access to culture and language for all.

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

Charles, of Fairbanks, is an associate professor of Yup’ik Eskimo and the first Alaska Native Director of the Alaska Native Language Center (ANLC) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). He grew up in Emmonak speaking Yup’ik before earning a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a master’s degree in education 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. As a native speaker of Yugtun, one of his primary interests is to maintain his language through teaching it at educational levels.

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

Yaayuk, of Nome, is the Kawerak Inc. Eskimo Heritage Program Director, and an Inupiaq instructor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Northwest Campus. She has also worked as an Alaska Native education coordinator and classroom teacher, and as a teaching mentor with the Alaska Statewide Mentoring Project. She also is a member of the King Island Drummers & Dance Group and a former member of the King Island Traditional Council. Alvanna-Stimpfle holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in Inupiaq Eskimo language from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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