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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The complete Ahtna poems
by Smelcer, John E., Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2011, 145; 3461356
Abstract (Summary)

As a tribally and federally enrolled member of the Ahtna tribe of Alaska, and as one of the last speakers of the Ahtna language, which is a member of the broader Dine' language family, which includes Navajo, John Smelcer worked with elders from various Ahtna villages to compile, edit, and publish the Ahtna Noun Dictionary and Pronunciation Guide (1998, 2011), which includes forewords by linguists Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker, and his late mentor, Ken Hale, who it is said spoke over fifty languages, including several Native American languages. John Smelcer's Alutiiq Noun Dictionary and Pronunciation Guide (2011) includes forewords by H. H. The Dalai Lama, who is himself concerned with the loss of his own Tibetan language, and Chief Marie Smith Jones, who was the last Native speaker of the now extinct Eyak language. (To read either dictionary, click on "dictionaries" at As a poet, John Smelcer has composed almost one hundred poems in Ahtna, which he has also rendered carefully into English. These bilingual poems, informed by mythology, culture, customs, the natural world, experience, and imagination have been published in dozens of journals worldwide. The Complete Ahtna Poems represents the entire corpus of literature ever written or published in the endangered Ahtna language.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mazziotti-Gillan, Maria
Commitee: Glick, Douglas, Tucker, Libby, Weil, Joseph
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: English, General Literature, and Rhetoric
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American studies, American literature, Native American studies, Creative writing
Keywords: Ahtna, Ahtna language, American Indian literature, American Indian studies, Native American languages, Native American poetry, Original writing, Poetry
Publication Number: 3461356
ISBN: 978-1-124-74555-8
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