Denali Voices

Branding | Packaging | Naming & Strategy
Personal Project | 2021 GDUSA Award Winner

An educational program supporting indigenous language learning in Alaska Native communities.

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The Denali Voices Indigenous Language Program was developed in response to the rapid decline of fluent speakers of the languages native to the geographic area of Alaska. In 2018, Governor Bill Walker signed Administrative Order 300 which formally declared a 'linguistic emergency' for Alaska Native languages. Denali Voices provides language learning materials free of charge to Alaskan schoolchildren and at a reduced cost to students around the world. 

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NAMING

Denali Voices includes program offerings that cover the entirety of the Alaskan region, with 20 distinct languages, that fall into two main language groups. The name Denali Voices refers to Denali mountain, the tallest peak in North America and a central part of many Alaska Native histories. According to the National Park Service, “No fewer than nine Native groups, from time immemorial, have used unique names for the mountain.” The name “Denali” stems from “deenaalee,” from the Koyukon language traditionally spoken on the north side and represents today’s commonly used name.

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Despite their uniqueness, Alaskan Native communities have a close relationship both with the earth’s landscape and with oral tradition. These relationships are conveyed together as one in the audio bar mountain range motif pervasive throughout the Denali Voices materials.

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Learning a language may seem like climbing a mountain. Denali Voices ensures that the trail to fluency isn't too steep.

In addition to a partnership with Duolingo, Denali Voices offers physical language learning materials in the form of an initial Welcome box and a monthly lesson kit. This was done in an effort to ensure that every child has access to language learning materials including remote communities where there is no guarantee of reliable internet access.

"There is no such thing as dead
languages, only dormant minds."

-- Carlos Ruiz Zafon, author