Anchorage, AK – The Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AKPIRG) is pleased to announce the hiring of Rochelle Adams and Erin Willahan as an Indigenous Language Specialist and Language Access Coordination Consultant, respectively. They will focus on ensuring that response rates on the Census rise due to outreach and translated materials made available in Alaska Native languages and other world languages that the US Census Bureau does not provide translations for. Adams and Willahan will both be at Elders & Youth and the Alaska Federation of Natives to generate community participation in creating translations and to spread the word.
“It’s important that we as Indigenous people are able to shape the world that we live in, to ensure our wellbeing, on our own traditional homelands and in our own languages in order to make the best decisions. I am very excited to work towards fulfilling this need with AKPIRG for our Alaskan Native language and also other languages spoken across the state, to ensure that we all have access to necessary information around the Census and that we create a platform for the importance of inclusion,” states Rochelle Adams.
Erin Willahan previously worked with the Division of Elections to improve equitable access to voting and was involved in facilitating the creation and dissemination of official election materials in 14 Alaska Native languages. Rochelle Adams has continuously sought to bring her perspective as an Indigenous woman with cultural knowledge, born of the lands and waters, training from the elders with a vision of the future generations to empower Native people everywhere. They will be coordinating word creation, standardizing translation contracts, and outreaching to language experts to translate materials for the 2020 Census.
The 2020 Census begins in Alaska on January 21st, 2020 in Toksook Bay. Rural Alaska will be counted before the rest of the State and U.S. Historically, Alaska Native communities have been largely undercounted. An undercount means less Federal and State funds—from WIC to TANF to education to roads funding. The Census, a 10-question form, will not be translated into any Alaska Native languages by the US Census Bureau.
AKPIRG was founded in 1974 as a non-profit, non-partisan, citizen-oriented statewide organization focused on researching, educating, and advocating on behalf of the public interest.
AkPIRG was founded in 1974 as a non-profit, non-partisan, citizen-oriented statewide organization focused on researching, educating, and advocating on behalf of the public interest.
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The Alaska Public Interest Research Group (AkPIRG) is a 501(c)(3) organization. Donations to AkPIRG are tax-deductible. EIN: 92-00047627