Questions raised over Alaska Native language bill

JUNEAU, Alaska — A bill that would symbolically make 20 Alaska Native languages as official languages of the state got some real-world pushback Thursday.

House Bill 216 sponsor, Anchorage Republican Rep. Charisse Millett, was questioned about ramifications of such designations.

Currently, English is the only official language for official business in Alaska.

North Pole Republican Rep. Doug Isaacson said during the House State Affairs committee meeting that he worries that others will read an intent in the bill that’s not there.

Supporters said the symbolic recognition could help preserve the languages, but Wasilla Republican Rep. Wes Keller questioned if another method shouldn’t be found to do that.

Millett said she was offended by such questions and doesn’t understand the resistance.

The bill remains in committee.

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