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Alaska church plans service in Gwich’in dialect

June 11, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska church is planning a Holy Communion service spoken entirely in the Gwich’in dialect for speakers from the U.S. and Canada.

The Thursday service at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Fairbanks will be officiated by a deacon and reverends from both countries, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Gwich’in is an Athabascan language spoken in 15 communities in Alaska, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Allan Hayton, who helped organize the event, expects about 40 participants.

“It’s a long, proud legacy that our ancestors and forebears have left for us, and I love our language, and to hear a service in our language is amazing,” he said.

A similar service performed in Gwich’in was held in 2003. Last year, a 10-year anniversary service was postponed because members from Canada weren’t able to attend.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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