Dedication pays off when the Alaska Senate passed the measure on an 18-2 vote.
Supporters of a bill to make 20 Alaska Native languages official state languages organized a 15 hour sit-in protest at the Capitol on Sunday April 20. The group included included UAS students, staff and faculty. Their dedication paid off when the Alaska Senate passed the measure on an 18-2 vote. It had passed the Alaska House 38-0. It now heads to Governor Sean Parnell for his signature. HB 216 would add the state’s indigenous languages to a statute created by a 1998 voter initiative, which made English the official language of Alaska. While the bill is largely symbolic, Alaska Native languages program head Lance Twitchell said it’s important to recognize all languages as equal.