(Lisa Demers/Anchorage Daily News, 3 February 2009) -- Lawyers for Yup'ik speaking voters say the state had problems translating ballots into Yup'ik. Here's one example, according to the lawyers: The state's translation for the predator control initiative used the word "takukaq." In one Yup'ik dialect, that means "brown bear" but in a coastal dialect, it means "seal," the lawyers said. "As a result, voters on the coast (a predominately Yup'ik-speaking area) read a ballot that indicated seals would be shot because they had been consuming too many moose calves and were depleting the population&mdahs;a nonsensical prospect," lawyers wrote in a motion filed in U.S. District Court last week. The state failed to provide enough translation help for Yup'ik speaking voters last year during three separate elections, violating a court order that it make significant improvements, according to the American Civil Liberties Union and the Native American Rights Fund. The concerns are playing out in U.S. District Court in the case of Nick v. Bethel, a civil suit filed in 2007 to force improvements in elections for Yup'ik speakers with limited or no English ability.
Posted 4 February 2009; 11:23:47 AM. Permalink