Ayaprun Loddie Jones Honored by State Legislature

Ayaprun Loddie Jones Honored by State Legislature
Posted on 04/20/2022
Loddie Jones Receives Award

Ledwina Ayaprun "Loddie" Jones was honored today by the Thirty-Second Alaska State Legislature. Congratulations, Loddie, on this well-deserved recognition!

(Text of award below)

Loddie Jones Receives Award

Alaska Legislature 

Honoring

Ledwina Ayaprun “Loddie” Jones

 

The members of the Thirty-Second Alaska State Legislature commend Ayaprun Ledwina “Loddie” Jones for her accomplishments in her fifty years as an educator and for her work championing Yup’ik language revitalization efforts in Alaska.

 

Ayaprun was born in Scammon Bay to a family where she was one of ten sisters and three brothers. As one of thirteen siblings she was the first to graduate high school and college in the whole village. She graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1972.

 

Of the sixty-eight Yup’ik villages in western Alaska, seventeen villages spoke Yup’ik as their first language. The importance of preserving Alaska Native languages, including the Yup’ik language is critical. The Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Yup’ik Immersion Charter School is at the forefront of that effort. In Loddie’s words, the mission of the school “is to help strengthen Yup’ik language and culture, to promote understanding of cultural differences, in order to enhance one’s own.” 

 

Ayaprun began her education career working at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Yup’ik Immersion Charter School is at the forefront of that effort. In Loddie’s words, the mission of the school “is to help strengthen Yup’ik language and culture, to promote understanding of cultural differences, in order to enhance one’s own.” 

 

Ayaprun began her education career working at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik Yup’ik Immersion Charter School as a kindergarten English teacher. Her passion for communication started when her mother shared her biggest pet peeve, which was when talking with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she needed a translator. This pushed Ayaprun to work as hard as she could to bridge the generational language barrior and preserve the Yup’ik culture she grew up in.

 

As Bethel grew in population, the school grew with it. From 1992-1995 Loddie transitioned to a position teaching Yup’ik as a second language. She thought it was imperative to work harder to make the Yup’ik Language productive. She saw language as the element that linked the cultural side with the lifestyle. She would listen to the kids speaking English in the hallways and remark, “I dream in Yup’ik”. She recognized that not everyone has equal opportunity to speak to someone in Yup’ik and learn. She would say, “You might think I’m a fluent speaker, but when I was with my mother, I was always asking, what does that mean?” She encouraged her students to be curious about their surroundings at all moments for the sake of personal and cultural growth. 

 

In 2014, the National Education Association named Ayaprun the recipient of the Emily Ivanoff Ticasak-Brown Human Rights Award for outstanding contributions to education in Alaska. In 1980, she was named the Alaska Native Educator of the Year, in 1996, the Bilingual Teacher of the Year, and the 1996 Lower Kuskokwim Teacher of the Year, and she was also named a recipient of the Milken Award in 1996. 

 

The members of the Thirty-Second Alaska State Legislature stand and recognize Ledwina Ayaprun “Loddie” Jones for her dedication to her Yup’ik culture and her many years as an educator to the Elitnaurvik Yup’ik Immersion Charter School. The groundwork she laid in her community will serve as a foundation, inspiring future generations  

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