There are values, meanings and stories embedded in the words of a language.”
— Siri Tuttle, linguist.
I believe that we were given this language for a reason. I believe that every different kind of person..Eskimos, Aleuts, all kinds of people, have their own language and I believe that’s what our heavenly father wants us.
— Geraldine Charlie, Minto Elder and Native Language Speaker.
This series is a collaboration with my mother, Siri Tuttle, who is a linguist who works with Athabaskan languages in Alaska through The Alaska Native Language Center at The University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The initial goal of photographing was to provide documentation of the work being done to document, preserve and teach these important languages.
With repeated visits I absorbed more of the meaning from these languages and began to admire the poetry and beauty inherent in the words and phrases I was hearing. When I bring my camera to Alaska I try to view the landscape and the people through the lens of the Athabaskans and what they and my mother have taught me about the mountains, the water, the cycle of the seasons, and the partnership of the people and the environment.