John Ross, Alaska Historical Commission member, gave a welcome in his native language, Dena’ina. “Our Alaska Native place names are coming back. We have received our place names from our ancestors. For thousands of years our language was written on the tongues of our people. Since 1972, we have a Dena’ina alphabet, recording and writings.” Ross acknowledged Dr. James Kari and others who worked with Dena’ina elders to document place names, and gave a brief description of some of the work of Shem Pete, Peter Kalifornsky and Nicolai Carltikoff .