RBC Future Launch Scholarships are empowering remarkable youth to pursue the important jobs of today and tomorrow.
Teslin’s Skaydu.û Autum Jules (Dakhl’awèdi clan) is passionate about her Tlingit culture but is concerned the language, a key component of the Tlingit culture, is endangered. She is now taking action to dedicate her life to be a keeper of her language and ensure it continues to be passed on to future generations.
“Indigenous languages are sacred boxes of knowledge that contain our oral traditions, customs, values, and who we are as Indigenous people,” says Jules. “The Tlingit language, culture and traditional ways are being critically endangered, more so because we are losing our fluent speakers faster than we are gaining them.”
For Jules, her goal is to acquire and transfer the Tlingit language and culture through experiential instruction. This has led to her enrolment at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), majoring in the Alaska Native Languages and Studies Bachelor of Liberal Arts program, with a minor in Outdoor Leadership Studies.
“I have learned a solid foundation of Tlingit, however, this program provides intense Tlingit language and culture learning,” says Jules. “This is my own identity and learning and teaching our Tlingit language will allow me to be surrounded by our way of life, and to be part of the beautiful language-revitalization system that is in place here at UAS.”
Jules shares her gratitude for her elders and teachers, for helping her get to where she is today.
“I would not be here doing what I love to do, without the support and faith of Teslin Tlingit elders Anàłàhàsh Sam Johnston (Ishkìtàn clan leader), Keyìshí Bessie Cooley (Kùkhhittan clan) and my mother Khàganê,” says Jules. “As well as my Tlingit language cohort and teachers from both the Yukon Native Language Centre and the Children of the Taky Society.”
Skaydu.û/Autum Jules was recently selected as one of 20 student recipients of the RBC Future Launch Scholarship for Indigenous Youth. The scholarship was first awarded in 1992 and is adjudicated by a panel of Indigenous community leaders each year. To date, more than $1.8 million has been awarded to 198 Indigenous youth from First Nations, Inuit and Metis background.
“This scholarship will provide me with the necessary financial aid to support, sustain and maintain my educational journey,” says Jules. “Without this scholarship, I would not be able to build the foundation I need in order to follow my dream of one-day returning home to my community and teaching the Tlingit language, culture and way of life to the current and future generations.”
To learn more about RBC’s efforts to support Indigenous youth and communities, visit: rbc.com/indigenous.