Phone: 907.793.3575 or Toll-free: 800.764.3382 |tcf@thecirifoundation.org

Heritage Project Grant- 2019 Native Youth Olympics

2019 Native Youth Olympic Games Grantee: Cook Inlet Tribal CouncilStory by: Kelly Hurd CITC is deeply grateful for The CIRI Foundation’s continued support of the Native Youth Olympic Games. NYO is a celebration of traditional athletic games, culture and our state’s rich history. NYO builds tomorrow’s leaders–providing an incentive to stay in school, maintain good grades, and participate in a healthy lifestyle. Thank you for your continued partnership and support of Alaska’s youth! Alumni ・ Recipient ・ Participant Do you have a story to share? We love hearing from you!Sharing stories is an important part of Alaska Native culture and we are excited to hear about your experiences. Click here to share your story!
By |July 17th, 2019|Featured Posts, Heritage, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant- 2019 Native Youth Olympics
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    A Journey to What Matters- Tanana Chief Conference Cultural Programs

A Journey to What Matters- Tanana Chief Conference Cultural Programs

Project: Tanana Chief Conference Cultural ProgramsGrantee: Tanana Chief ConferenceStory and photos from: Cindy Schumaker Keeping Traditions Alive: Skin Tanning Workshop There was a time when families in Koyukuk made a living trapping, skinning and selling wolf, beaver, marten, and muskrat hides. According to tribal administrator Loretta Lolnitz, many youth today have never seen a stretched pelt. Until recently that is. In May, children in Koyukuk had their eyes opened to raw hide stretching thanks to a four-day Cultural Traditions workshop funded by Tanana Chiefs Conference and The CIRI Foundation. Wolf, marten, and beaver furs were purchased from local trappers, and the rest of the skinning, stretching and tanning became a learning process for the community.“We’ve exposed youth to the way many of our Elders made their living,” said Lolnitz. “We’ve bridged that gap.”Experienced elders and trappers Dewain Dayton, Dale Kriska, Percy Lolnitz, Robert William Pilot and Benedict Jones led the teaching for more than 20 Koyukuk youth and adults. Eliza Jones told stories to teach respect for and care of the animals. Participant Percy Lolnitz said he felt like the workshop was an awakening of skills. “It reminded me of when I was a kid and watched the elders work on their catch,” said Lolnitz. “We must keep this way of life going.”As is traditional with Alaska Native hunters, the entire animal is used. The meat of the beaver is delicacy served first to Elders. The hides and fur become parkas, or trim for vests, gloves and slippers. The bones and claws become embellishments for clothes or jewelry. Nothing is wasted. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ #gallery-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-2 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-2 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Beaded Glove Workshop in the Village of Ruby The village of Ruby just got a bit more beautiful thanks to a workshop taught by Lena McCarty. In a series of nine classes in January and February, Lena patiently mentored 14 adult and youth students to make their own beaded gloves. Workshop organizer Victoria Honea said it was the first workshop like this in a long time, and they are anxious to do more in the future. The Beaded Glove workshop was a partnership between Tanana Chiefs Conference, The CIRI Foundation, and the Ruby Native Council in an effort to pass along traditional skills to a future generation, reclaim heritage, and share stories and laughter around the beading table! Cowhide Moccasin Workshop in the Village of Nikolai Every child in Nikolai is getting a new pair of cowhide moccasins! Master artist and skin sewer Oline Petruska is teaching all the students at the Top of the Kuskokwim School in Nikolai to make their own. Teachers, parents, and Elders are helping, and are making a few more pairs for Nikolai’s younger kids so no child will be left out. Workshop organizer Balassa Alexie said “Asking the parents to come in to help has been an added bonus because we’re getting families to do something traditional together.”The cowhide moccasin workshop is funded through a partnership between Tanana Chiefs Conference Cultural Program Department, The CIRI Foundation, and Nikolai Edzeno’ Tribal Council. How neat is that! #gallery-3 { margin: auto; } #gallery-3 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-3 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-3 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */
By |June 25th, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Tanana Chief Conference Cultural Programs
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    A Journey to What Matters- Youth, Elder, Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self Governance

A Journey to What Matters- Youth, Elder, Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self Governance

Project: Youth, Elder, Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self GovernanceGrantee: Inuit Circumpolar CouncilStory and photo from: Carolina BeheOn February 25th and 26th, 2019, Inuit from across Alaska and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) came together in Bethel, Alaska to explore Inuit values surrounding our relationships to the environment and the collection and processing of food; Inuit management practices, policies and decision-making pathways; ways of moving toward Inuit Food Sovereignty. The workshop, Youth, Elder, and Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self Governance, was hosted by the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Alaska.Often times the world does not consider art as part of Food Sovereignty. Within the Inuit world it is – people’s self and community-expression, the choice of materials to use in making art, the role that artists play within each community, the impact of colonialism on decisions and even people’s relationship to all that is around them is connected back to food sovereignty.With funding provided through The CIRI Foundation, we were able to work with two Inuit artists, Ryan Romer and Britt’Nee Brower, to create art pieces reflective of the discussions they heard during the workshop. Additionally, Britt’Nee facilitated a discussion about the relationships between art/material, culture, and food sovereignty. This discussion included points about the impact of the ivory and seal trade bans, spiritual respect for animals, and the influence of an imposed view of a dominate culture on Inuit concepts of art.We also encouraged the workshop participants to express themselves in any way they felt comfortable. For some this meant impromptu drumming, singing, and dancing during a break. For others, it meant drawing on a large piece of fabric laid out for all participants to paint on. At times, some participants chose to group around the fabric and draw while having a break-out discussion related to food sovereignty. There is a lot of freedom in moving away from tables and formal discussions to discussions where we are encouraged to speak from our hearts, from our truth. Winds of Change, 2019. Britt’Nee Kivliqtaruq BrowerAcrylic, Feathers, Beaver, White Fox, Wolf, Seal Skin, Antler and Glitter on Canvas Food Sovereignty and Art Story and Art by: Britt’Nee BrowerThis workshop was a great opportunity to see all of the commonalities, disconnects and changes in our communities that rely on subsistence hunting and gathering. I had the best experience exploring and discussing important topics with a new found family of individuals, as we adapt to all of the changes affecting our subsistence lifestyle and work together to actively pass down our indigenous knowledge as role models to the future generation.There is a story of a moon mask with a crescent moon shown alongside the dark side of the moon, or the unknown. In the unknown there are 4 feather spokes that represent the direction of the winds, and each feather represents a wish you would like to see happen. Surrounding the moon is a qupak design representing a drum, the heartbeat of the Inuit culture. The sun shines around the moon to represent the climate change affecting our subsistence calendars. I would like to make 4 wishes to help us adapt to all of the changes and unknowns occurring in the migration routes, hunting & gathering seasons, and weather. Each feather is a wish for helping us predict the weather, adapt to migration and route changes of the animals in the sky, the waters and the land.
By |June 21st, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Youth, Elder, Active Hunter and Gatherer – Food Sovereignty and Self Governance
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    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Lake Iliamna Traditional Seal Parka

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Lake Iliamna Traditional Seal Parka

Project: ARTShops 2018 Lake Iliamna Traditional Seal Parka Alaska State Council on the Arts Partnership Story by: Michelle Ravenmoon 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. For my ARTShop project I hunted seals with my sister Marlene Tilly in the winter of 2018.  Marlene had taught me how to hunt seals on the ice the year before.  I was able to harvest one seal for the project.  Marl taught me the techniques for stretching, scraping, and salting the hide prior to tanning.  I also harvested the seal fat to make seal oil and the meat for the elders in Kokhanok . Annie is the one elder in the area who knows how to make Lake Iliamna traditional-style seal parkas.  All of us taking the class were sewers and we all had never made a parka before.  In traditional times, there were many hunters and who brought seal home. There were also many who knew how to traditionally tan sealskins.  We live in a time when there are less seal hunters and next to no one who tans skins traditionally anymore.  Our problem as fur sewers is that our resources are very expensive and difficult to acquire enough to make a parka.  I talked with Annie and she said our child-sized parka we made and its great worth because of the time, furs, and intellectual and cultural knowledge put into it.  Some of us have never had the opportunity to learn because of our limited resources, including someone to teach us.  This grant has given us an extraordinary opportunity to learn when many of us simply do not have the resources to do it on our own.It was peaceful to watch the ladies interact and fall into a time old tradition of gathering together, working on a community project and enjoying themselves.  We could have been gathered a hundred years ago and it would be no different in our discussions.  We told stories, laughed, and shared about our loved ones as we sewed.  Many of the women said that this needs to happen more often.   We remembered how important gathering and working together is.  I feel like we all greatly benefited from the project, especially since we all gained knowledge of how to make a seal skin parka. The gathering together of women working on a collaborative project was not something that is done often these days and it was a great reminder of our roots and how this would be something our ancestors easily did.  It was warming to my heart to be part of this process.  I had no idea how traditional culture would shine through in a project such as this. We had limited time, we were adding some non-traditional techniques such as using a sewing machine for the non-fur lining, and we were sitting in the local bingo hall.  I was impressed to hear the women starting to share our traditional languages (Yupiq and Dena’ina) as we put the parka together.  I was able to gather some stories from the women on how they were taught, which was by observation, then by trying on their own.  I was also impressed with watching how we got along, and the balance of the class. I watched as there were some power struggles between sewers, but how Annie took authority with gentleness and kindness.  She never said a negative word to anyone but she did tell us when we did something wrong and we had to correct it.  We were taught how to make the parka the “right way.” #gallery-4 { margin: auto; } #gallery-4 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-4 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-4 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */
By |March 6th, 2019|ARTShops, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Lake Iliamna Traditional Seal Parka
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    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Fish Wheel to Fish Skins

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Fish Wheel to Fish Skins

Project: ARTShops 2018 Fish Wheel to Fish Skins Alaska State Council on the Arts Partnership Story by: Rochelle Adams 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. One of the main things that I loved about this project was that it took place at home with the people I know and love. We worked together in the comfort of our own homes, in our own natural way that we communicate, learn and organize with one another, on our own lands and waters. It was very good to support that and to do this work with a strong foundation of our values and our own ways of knowing and being. Such as how we are respectful with each other, we place the utmost respect on our land while we are gathering materials, as we are on the River, while we have our fish wheel turning and in the smokehouse. We practiced our value of sharing and hard work together. This was a big success! #gallery-5 { margin: auto; } #gallery-5 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 20%; } #gallery-5 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-5 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */
By |March 6th, 2019|ARTShops, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Fish Wheel to Fish Skins

Heritage Project Grant – ALAXSXA | ALASKA

Project: ALAXSXA | ALASKA Grantee: Bunnell Street Arts Center Story and photographs provided by Asia Freeman Additional photographs from Candace Blas ALAXSXA | ALASKA (AA) wove puppetry, video installations, recorded interviews, and yuraq (Alaska Native Yup’ik drum and dance) in a collage of striking contemporary and […]
By |March 5th, 2019|Featured Posts, Heritage, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant – ALAXSXA | ALASKA
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    A Journey to What Matters- Alaska Native PLACE Sewing Workshops

A Journey to What Matters- Alaska Native PLACE Sewing Workshops

Project: Alaska Native PLACE Sewing Workshops, Professional Development & Dialogue Grantee: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center Story and photos by: Angela Demma Alaska Native PLACE, which stands for Providing Living Artists Creative Environments, holds a monthly gathering for Alaska Native artists (except during subsistence activities […]
By |February 22nd, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Alaska Native PLACE Sewing Workshops
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    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Utqiagvik Bleached Seal Skin

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Utqiagvik Bleached Seal Skin

Project: ARTShops 2018 Utqiagvik Bleached Seal Skin Alaska State Council on the Arts Partnership Story by: Bobby Lynn Itta 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 […]
By |February 19th, 2019|ARTShops, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2018 Utqiagvik Bleached Seal Skin
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    Heritage Project Grant – WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North

Heritage Project Grant – WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North

Project: WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North Grantee: Anchorage Museum Association Story by: Jamie Newsom Eaton WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North is a feature-length documentary film produced by the Anchorage Museum. It profiles the rising stars of Northern Indigenous hip-hop […]
By |February 1st, 2019|Featured Posts, Heritage, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant – WE UP: Indigenous Hip-Hop of the Circumpolar North
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    A Journey To What Matters- 35th Annual Elders & Youth Conference – Survival Kit Tool Making

A Journey To What Matters- 35th Annual Elders & Youth Conference – Survival Kit Tool Making

Project: 35th Annual Elders & Youth Conference – Survival Kit Tool Making Grantee: First Alaskans Institute Story by: Denbigh Perry Volunteering for the 2018 Youth and Elders Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, which is hosted by the First Alaskans Institute; was a terrific opportunity. This event […]
By |January 8th, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters- 35th Annual Elders & Youth Conference – Survival Kit Tool Making