ARTShops 2021 Sonta Hamilton Roach in Shageluk
Deg Hit’an Carving Traditions
The ARTShops program is a collaboration between the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation and The CIRI Foundation’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Arts and Culture grant program. Established in 2016, ARTShops support emerging Alaska Native arts leaders to develop their skills in leading community-based arts programs.
The Deg Hit’an Carving project has truly been an opportunity to introduce the next generation to the art of Deg Hit’an carving. More specifically, youth and young adults, participated in an introductory carving class that focused on traditional carving skills and highlighted the traditional masks and tools used in the Shageluk area. Shageluk is known for carving masks, and many mask makers are much older or have passed on. But we know the skills still exist and are valued in our community and amongst families. The focus of the project was also to bring in all learners, particularly young adults, who could act as learners, teachers and role models to youth. In a sense, we are all learners and teachers together; this is a model that will help carry us through in being intentional in our teaching and learning of traditional skills.
We look forward to continuing to grow and expand this project through the winter and over the upcoming years. As a community, we value mask carving and other carving skills that are traditional to our area.