- Repository URL:
- Ahtna; language archive; Alaska; Ahtna Heritage Foundation
We discuss the development of the C’ek’aedi Hwnax Ahtna Regional Linguistic and Ethnographic Archive, located in the Copper River valley of south central Alaska. C’ek’aedi Hwnax is the first OLAC-compliant, Indigenously-administered digital language archive in North America. Against the backdrop of the history of language archiving at the Alaska Native Language Center in Fairbanks, we present the Ahtna community’s voiced desire for local control over decades’ worth of irreplaceable linguistic and cultural recordings, along with the steps we took to build the archive. These include the aggregation of recordings from various locations, the process by which they were digitized, and the increase of access to their contents. The Ahtna archive follows guidelines for best practices already undertaken by established university-based archives around the world. At the same time, the archive represents a new model of distributed linguistic archiving in Alaska via a Memorandum of Agreement with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which provides permanent off-site backup of the Ahtna collection on its servers and allows C’ek’aedi Hwnax full administrative control over access to the collection at the university. In this model, the responsibility for administration of language materials traditionally held in a central location is apportioned to different parties according to their needs and resources.