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“The Sounds of Tukudh” research program is intended to preserve the sounds of the Tukudh* dialect of Gwich’in for future generations. It is a joint project of the Gwich’in Tribal Council, Cultural Heritage Division and the Hebrew University.
The Tukudh dialect, or perhaps better the Tukudh writing system for the Gwich’in language, it best represented by the Tukudh Bible and Hymnal of Archdeacon McDonald that were translated and published in the last years of the 19th century. With the adoption of a new (still in use) writing system for Gwich’in in the middle of the 20th century, knowledge of how to read the Tukudh writing system waned despite the fact that the Tukudh Bible and Hymnal has remained in use in the holy liturgy of the Anglican Church communities including Fort McPherson and Old Crow.
The project included the funded for a digital re-recording of a full reading of the Tukudh Bible by Sarah Simon of Fort McPherson, thus making the Sarah Simon readings available for future generations. These files are an almost complete reading of the King James Tukudh Bible, by Sarah Simon, missing only Romans 1.1-6.10. It was originally anticipated that the digital recordings would be made from a set of tapes held at the Gwich’in Language Centre at Fort McPherson, but the poor quality of these recordings rendered this plan impossible. Happily, “The Sound of Tududh” research project was able to arrange to make digital recordings of the Sarah Simon readings held at the Yukon Native Language Centre in Whitehorse with the cooperation of Dr. Doug Hitch. These recordings have now been completed, with funding from the Aurora Research Institute.
*Even though the word is written Tukudh, this word is often sounded out “Dagoo” by Gwich’in speakers of both of the Teetł’it and Gwichya dialects.