Wolf Art by Lawrence Dean Charlie




Caribou Art by Lawrence Dean Charlie
Caribou Logo LANGUAGE

The Gwich'in Athapaskan language has also been known as Loucheux, Kutchin and Tukudh. It is used in Northern Yukon, Northeast Alaska and Northeast N.W.T. The people of the Gwich'in community of Old Crow call themselves the Van Tat-Gwich'in, or people

Caribou Logo
who live among the lakes (ie., Crow Flats)" (The language is referred to as Kutchin, or Tukudh.) Settlements are Fort Yukon, Chalkyitsik, Birch-Creek, Venetie and Arctic Village. Other speakers live in the North West Territories: Aklavik, Inuvik, Arctic Red River and Fort McPherson. The Gwich'in Language has been taught in the Chief Zzeh Gittlit School in Old Crow since the early 1970's. The current instructors are Mrs. Helen Charlie and Mrs. Annie Lord. Gwich'in classes are attended by virtually all the students during the year.

The first writing system for the Gwich'in or Tukudh language was created by Archdeacon, Robert McDonald (1829-1913), a church of England missionary who began working with the Gwich'in people in the 1860's. With the help of the Gwich'in people, McDonald translated the entire Bible, the book of Common Prayer, and a book of Takudh Hymns. These books are still being used today by middle-aged and older people who were taught to read and write the McDonald alphabet. Most of the younger people have a difficult time reading the materials because the symbols used by McDonald were inconsistent.

Today young people can rely on a modern writing system that reflects more accurately and consistently which was developed by Richard Mueller, a linguist and Bible translator. The Mueller alphabet for Alaskan Loucheux was adapted by the Yukon Native Language Centre since the mid 1970's for use in writing the Canadian dialects of the language. 

Examples

Click on links below to hear sample Gwitchin language files. Requires MP3 player. Download Free Player from Microsoft.
Netscape users may have to download the sound file. To do this right click on the link to the sound file and choose: "Save Link As...". Save to your hard drive and then open with your player.

How are You?.................Neenjit dgonch'uu?
I am fine..................................Sheenjit gwiinzii.
How about you?.................................Nanh yu'?
Me too, I'm fine....... Shint'eh sheenjit gwiinzii.
How is he/she?................Veenjit dgonch'uu?
He/she is fine............................Veenjit gwiinzii.

I live in Old Crow................ Old Crow gwihch'ii.
Who is this?............................. Jii ju t'iinch'uu?
This is my mother............. Jii shihanh t'iinch'uu.
This is my father................... Jii shiti' t'iinch'uu.
This is my grandmother.... Jii shitsuu t'iinch'uu.
This is my grandfather........ Jii shitsii t'iinch'uu.

Listen to the complete set (MP3 Format).

Set 1 (55KB)............ Set 2 (57KB)