The Tlingit are an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast of America. Their name for themselves is Lingít, meaning "People of the Tides"...
people of Southeast Alaska and Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...
. It is a branch of the Na-Dené language
Na-Dene is a Native American language family which includes at least the Athabaskan languages, Eyak, and Tlingit languages. An inclusion of Haida is controversial....
family. Tlingit is very endangered
An endangered language is a language that is at risk of falling out of use. If it loses all its native speakers, it becomes a dead language. If eventually no one speaks the language at all it becomes an "extinct language"....
, with fewer than 140 native speakers still living, all of whom are bilingual or near-bilingual in English. Extensive effort is being put into revitalization programs in Southeast Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...
to revive and preserve the Tlingit language and its culture.
Russian Orthodox missionaries were the first to develop a written version of Tlingit, using the Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...
to record and translate it, when the Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...
had contact with Alaska and the coast of North America down to Sonoma County, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...