October 18th is officially Alaska Day and even though it's not necessarily a celebratory holiday I decided to commemorate it with my own contribution to the state's symbolism.
With much mental work and research I stretched my writer's muscle and wrote a Dena'ina language version of the state's anthem/song written in English, Eight Stars of Gold. It is always challenging to write in a second language but I found doing this was even more difficult than other languages I have written in before. Without a literary tradition and living native speakers of my dialect I only had my creative instinct to make symbolic and metaphorical phrasing and balanced phonetic flow.
Alaska now has 21 official languages, indigenous ones such as Dena'ina included, and has large populations of native speakers of several others including Spanish, Korean, and Tagalog. I wanted to pay tribute to this linguistic diversity by creating new lyrics in my own culture's language. This version is written to be both as close as possible to match the meaning and significance of the original essay and poem with a few more Dena'ina specific elements, and it is also a near exact match of the song pattern in syllable and rhyme.
This image is of a quick water brush version I wrote in my Dena'ina alphabet as well as a Latin script version. I will be posting more about the full translation and a related project on my website in the near future. Please read about the history of the state song and the flag, it is very unique and a great story.
Happy Alaska Day! 🎨argentkvasnikoff.com☁ #art #abstract #alaska #ink #drawing #pens #calligraphy #language #linguistics #modern #style #homeralaska #kenaipeninsula #ninilchik #denaina #dene #nativeamerican #indigenous #alphabet #writing #writingsystems #songs #music #alaskaday #holidays