Dr. Lawrence Kaplan, professor of Linguistics and Director of the Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Ann Riordan, an independent scholar who has worked with the Calista Elders Council since 1999 on community-based projects, including a robust place names project.
“Place names show use and knowledge, and index a whole history of an area,” said Kaplan. “We are working with some of the last people who have that knowledge.”
Riordan spoke about the Calista Elders Council place names project, noting that the stories and histories that go with place names are just as important. However, she noted, the decision to publish the stories is a local one. “Content decisions must be made by the communities.”