Many sessions at the Elders and Youth Conference in Anchorage this week have been devoted to cultural preservation. More than a dozen classes and gatherings focused on languages.
"Language and culture -- they go hand in hand," said Athabascan language teacher Marilyn Balluta.
Originally from Nondalton, Balluta has taught Alaska Native topics in high school and at the University of Alaska Anchorage over the last 15 years. On Monday, October 12, 2015 she held an introductory survey, Dena'ina Athabascan Circle, for a small group of mostly teenagers at the Dena'ina Civic & Convention Center.
Balluta says her passion is preserving her culture through teaching the next generation.
"It's important for our young people to know who they are, where they come from. It gives them a lot of pride knowing who they are," she said.