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

  • Permalink Gallery

    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Traditional and Contemporary Skin Sewing with Marine Mammals

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Traditional and Contemporary Skin Sewing with Marine Mammals

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership ARTShops 2020 Traditional and Contemporary Skin Sewing with Marine Mammals Story by Raven Cunningham 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. With generous support from the ARTShop program I was able to provide education about present day threats to Alaska Native peoples, as well as traditional and contemporary ways of hunting, skinning, skin stretching, and sewing of marine mammals, specifically seal skins. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic, I was unable to host a class to teach in person, so I had to focus on personally outreaching to people who were interested. I worked with a few people within my community and within the State of Alaska sending them seal skins and teaching them how to stretch with video and written instruction. It was amazing to see these different individuals not only learn this skill, but some were able to take it and teach others through their social media platforms.  Eventually I plan to use the marine mammal skins that I processed to create a piece of art to donate to the Native Village of Eyak. I have a good majority of the project done, and will continue to work on the beading and finishing touches to the project. I plan on finishing out the project myself when I can, or if there is time where I can connect with other local artists within my Tribe to finish it together. After graduation I plan on continuing teaching the traditional ways of our people and how to practice these skills in our contemporary lives. I hope to also spread awareness of the issue of blood quantum and how it greatly affects our Native communities. Marine mammals are a crucial and essential part of Alaska Native lives. It appears that the United States government created blood quantum as a way to assimilate and terminate Native people. Blood quantum is a hidden safety net that is placed into the fabric of treaties to ensure that benefits would be terminated. The moment when tribal members are no longer Native enough based on colonial tactics that were established to assimilate is the moment Indigenous people are bred out of existence. Follow Raven Cunningham's Work Here
By |December 14th, 2020|Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Traditional and Contemporary Skin Sewing with Marine Mammals

Education Project Grant- Color of Justice During a Pandemic

Color of Justice During a Pandemic Grantee: Alaska Native Justice Center, Story by Sara Martinchick, ANJC Office Manager The Alaska Native Justice Center (ANJC) hosted a two day Color of Justice program with support from The CIRI Foundation and in partnership with the Alaska Court System. Due to the pandemic in 2020, we adjusted the Color of Justice program to a hybrid model. The hybrid model of delivery enabled the program to be virtual and safe for all presenters and participants. All of the presentations were done virtual and majority of the students attended virtually, with four youth participating in-person while following all mandates and safety measures.Although the pandemic created several barriers for the program, ANJC and the Alaska Court System were innovative with adjusting the programing to virtual using the Zoom platform. The Color of Justice Program consisted of several presentations and interactive activates such as Ice Breakers, Mentor Jet: A Speed Mentoring Experience, You be the Judge!, and Constitutional Cranium. Judge Pamela Washington, a local judge with the Alaska Court System, was vital in creating the curriculum for the program and brought several years of experience in hosting the Color of Justice.Welcoming remarks were made by the Honorable Susan Carney, Judge Pamela Washington and ANJC Senior Director of Operations Tammy Ashley (TCF recipient). ANJC staff were vital to the success of the program. Office Manager Sara Martinchick coordinated all aspects of the programming in conjunction with Judge Washington and Youth Program Youth Advocate Michael Farahjood hosted the Ice breaker each day. During the Mentor Jet several Judges, Attorneys, and Professors met with the students sharing their own personal experiences, why they started working in the justice field, also answering several questions asked by the students.A total of 17 youth participated; 2 were CIRI descendants and 1 was from the Bering Straits Native Corporation and 14 did not disclose. Working with the Southcentral Foundation Pathway Home Program, several of their students were able to attend virtually. One student said “The Color of Justice Program has shown me about the several careers that I could possibly have in the justice field and has sparked my interest in perusing one.”Working together with the Alaska Court System, we were able to host the first virtual Color of Justice program in Alaska. ANJC was the “pilot project” for the Virtual Color of Justice to see if this was a feasible new way of hosting this opportunity. With the assistance of our partners, ANJC was able to successfully pave the way for hosting the virtual model of delivery for the Color of Justice. Since the event, word of the success of our program has been shared, and ANJC has been contacted by out-of-state Youth Court programs for guidance on their program.Moving forward, ANJC looks forward to this new model of delivery, and hopes to engage more youth in additional rural areas to attend in future Color of Justice events.
By |December 14th, 2020|Featured Posts|Comments Off on Education Project Grant- Color of Justice During a Pandemic

Heritage Project Grant- Live Radio Amid the Pandemic

Live Radio Amid the Pandemic Grantee: Koahnic Broadcast Corporation, Story by Antonia Gonzales, Host & Produce National Native News I’ve been traveling to Alaska for more than a decade to help produce and host radio programs during KNBA’s annual gavel-to-gavel broadcast of the Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention. This year’s broadcast was one of a kind. We have all adjusted to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, and our 2020 broadcast was also an adjustment. I’m proud to have been part of making it happen.Our 2020 coverage consisted of a live broadcast from KNBA with a skeleton crew. I hosted the daily gavel-to-gavel coverage and the noon show. The convention broadcast is usually bustling with producers, hosts and guest on site of the AFN gathering.This year, we delivered a play-by-play of the AFN virtual convention in real time on the radio. Our noon hour show “Alaska’s Native Voice,” which is normally live, was prerecorded due to COVID-19 and played twice a day this year. Our broadcast days were also scaled back to two.I’m very proud of the work we were able to do this year-both live and prerecorded. We were still able to engage listeners on the radio tuned-in in communities across Alaska about the happenings of the AFN. We had dialog on our noon hour program with guests talking directly about Alaska Native issues. We were also able to bring in guests by telephone to be interviewed live on air. I think our creativity was shown in the work and we were able to adjust to a new way of hosting and producing the annual broadcast amid the pandemic.
By |December 1st, 2020|Education, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant- Live Radio Amid the Pandemic
  • Permalink Gallery

    A Journey to What Matters- 2020 Elders & Youth: Living and Loving our Cultures Workshop

A Journey to What Matters- 2020 Elders & Youth: Living and Loving our Cultures Workshop

2020 Elders & Youth: Living & Loving our Cultures WorkshopStory by: Helena Jacobs My mother, four of my children, and I were all blessed with the opportunity to participate in the first ever virtual FAI Elders & Youth Conference Living & Loving our Cultures workshops this year! My daughters and I were set up on a zoom call in our dining room doing the “Painting Our Ways of Life” workshop with Sylvia Lange (Tlingit) doing acrylic painting on canvas, my mom and son were set up on a Zoom call in our living room doing the “Cedar Bracelet Making” workshop with Debbie McLavey (Haida) and RoMay Edenshaw (Haida), and my other son was set up on a Zoom call in my office doing the “COVID-19 Mask Sewing” workshop with Mellisa Johnson (Inupiaq).Sylvia asked each virtual workshop participant to choose something we wanted to paint, and then encouraged us and answered questions throughout. She shared about mixing paints, color theory, contrast, and techniques with different brushes or materials, while showing many examples of her work. It was so fun!In reflecting on this workshop, my 7 year old said there were so many cool designs that people chose that had different patterns and colors that she felt inspired seeing what they made. She said it felt good to be able to be free to paint whatever she wanted. She had fun and loved this activity so much that she wanted to go to her grandpa’s house the next week to participate in a paint night activity led by Sugpiaq artist Sara Squartsoff online. As we were preparing our painting stations, my five year old excitedly exclaimed, “this is going to be the best day of my life!” because she was so excited to do this activity with her mom and her older sister.Enaa baasee’ to The CIRI Foundation, to First Alaskans Institute, and to all our instructors and peers for this amazing opportunity! 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 |November 24th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- 2020 Elders & Youth: Living and Loving our Cultures Workshop
  • Permalink Gallery

    A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2020

A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2020

A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2020 Parka Ruff and Trim Class 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. Bobby teaching via Zoom Graduate ARTShops 2020Parka Ruff and Trim Class: VirtuallyStory by: Bobby Itta, ARTShop Leader For my Graduate ARTShop project, I taught a two-day parka ruff and trim class using Zoom. Five students participated from Anchorage, Seldovia, and Utqiagvik. On the first day, students learned how to stretch an animal hide of their choice. On day two, I went over how to draw, cut, and sew a ruff. It was a little difficult to teach on-line, as I usually teach in a classroom and can share more details in person, but overall the class was great and I had awesome students! Being able to make clothing is an important skill for people to learn, so that they can learn to keep themselves warm and pass down their skills to their children or family. I learned from my mom, who learned from my grandmother. I am happy to be able to share what I know with others. Follow Bobby Itta's Work Here Participant Danyel Harvey with her completed ruff
By |November 20th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2020

Heritage Project Grant- Production of “The Storyteller”

Project: "The Storyteller" Arts and Culture Initiative: Production and Initial Outreach Grantee: Koahnic Broadcast CorporationStory by John Sallee (TCF Recipient) The Storyteller is a 15-episode audio series produced by Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. The project aimed to revitalize old folktales and stories from Alaska Native people. As the lead producer, it was my job to bring these old stories back to the ears and eyes of the new generation in a modern and fresh way. The concept behind the series relies on the character, the Storyteller, who serves as the host of the series. Not only does the Storyteller hold a collection of stories from Alaska’s original peoples, but they serve as the interface of the series. The website, nativestoryteller.org, will serve as the base for all media involved with the project. This multimedia project includes shadow animation, a podcast, and an interactive website. This project has been the biggest learning experience of my life, educationally and professionally. Working with a graphic designer, shadow animator, website designer and Alaska Native artists simultaneously has been a great learning experience. Not only did this project involve production work, but it involved behind the scenes work such as creative direction, marketing, contract writing and corporate outreach. Listening and editing these stories has been a joy, as not only have I rediscovered these folktales but it even gives me a sense of pride in my culture. While this series was mainly to be audio, I believe these folktales needed to align with modern technology by providing various visual mediums. Production Art by Steven Hammack Premier animated story by Patricia Wade, “An Athabascan Story of Denali”
By |November 9th, 2020|Featured Posts, Heritage, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant- Production of “The Storyteller”

Journey to What Matters- Sivuqaq Parka-Making Workshops

Sivuqaq Parka-Making Workshops Grantee: Bering Strait School District, Story by Brianna (Blatchford) Wheeler Bering Strait School District was able to partner with The CIRI Foundation last fall to provide materials and resources for Qaguus Kunuka to pass on traditional knowledge about parka-making for her older students. Students and community members were excited to see skin sewing, patterns, and other technical skills that might not otherwise have been widely spread being passed to a whole new generation. This group of students worked hard and worked together, learning to use traditional materials and learning to make high-quality, beautiful, functional parkas, start to finish. When COVID hit Alaska and schools closed suddenly, many of these projects appeared to be stranded with no way to finish. However, the students were determined to work hard, learning however they could, in order to complete their work. Parents went to Qaguus with phones to film a new step their students could complete at home. The students asked questions, worked hard, and figured out how, even in a world of distance learning, to connect with their mentor and learn what they needed. On graduation day, the village held a parade for graduates and the students from Qaguus’s class proudly rode through town in sealskin-covered graduation caps and brand new parkas. The whole community celebrated their accomplishments. 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 |November 9th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on Journey to What Matters- Sivuqaq Parka-Making Workshops
  • Permalink Gallery

    Education Project Grant- Early Language & Literacy for Alaska Native Children

Education Project Grant- Early Language & Literacy for Alaska Native Children

Early Language & Literacy for Alaska Native ChildrenGrantee: Best Beginnings, Story by Amie Collins Kindergarten readiness starts with reading. Research shows that children who have access to book and are read to from birth will have greater academic success. Best Beginnings is partnering with numerous organizations to improve the likelihood of success in kindergarten for Alaska Native children living in Anchorage.With funding support from The CIRI Foundation, Best Beginnings was able to work with Alaska Native Medical Center, the Nutaqsiivik Nurse-Family Partnership, Cook Inlet Native Head Start and Clare Swan Early Head Start to enroll children in the Anchorage Imagination Library. The Anchorage Imagination Library is a program of Best Beginnings that delivers high quality, age-appropriate books to a child in their home each month from birth to age 5.In addition to providing books in the home to over 1,000 Alaska Native children, Imagination Library families are invited together for enrichment activities that bring the books to life with fun, educational play and social emotional learning. In February we explored literacy and science with the title Shh! Bear’s Sleeping in partnership with the Campbell Creek Science Center. Families learned about hibernation, Alaska animals they might find in the wild of southcentral, and got to pick up even more books at our book swap. Children put their gross and fine motor skills to use doing arts, crafts, and activities.During our group storytimes, you can see the joy on each child’s face as they watch our storyteller read their favorite book wide-eyed with awe. And parents always take a minute to express their gratitude for the extra take-home activities and opportunity to gather. One family told us, “These events are our favorite ones in town. I wish they happened weekly!”When COVID-19 put a pause to our in-person programming we were challenged to take these experiences online in a way that families could easily do them at home. Our first virtual camp for families, Little Learners, was so popular that we hosted two more, serving over 75 families in a short period of time. 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 |November 9th, 2020|Education, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on Education Project Grant- Early Language & Literacy for Alaska Native Children
  • Permalink Gallery

    A Journey to What Matters- Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist Residencies

A Journey to What Matters- Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist Residencies

Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist ResidenciesStory by: Francesca Du Brock An example of the work by Robin Lovelace. Through the generous support of The CIRI Foundation, the Anchorage Museum was able to provide Virtual Artist Residencies to four Indigenous artists during the summer and fall of 2020. Facing the expanding crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, this project gave Museum curatorial staff the invaluable opportunity to work closely, one-on-one with artists and support their working process, rather than focusing on traditional exhibition models that emphasize product over process. We worked with the following artists, click through their names to read their features on the Anchorage Museum blog. Ethan Lauesen (Tlingit) Robin Lovelace (Tlingit) Jenny Irene Miller (Iñupiaq) Kunaq Tahbone (Iñupiaq) Each residency started in the same fashion, with an interview conducted by the Anchorage Museum Chief Curator, which was developed into a profile published on the Museum blog. These profiles provide audiences with an introduction to the artist, their background, and key motivating factors and themes in their artwork. Artists provided images and feedback on the text. Then, depending on the level of comfort with digital media, artists shared different aspects of their process a minimum of three times throughout the month – through photos and written narration, videos published on the Anchorage Museum Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as live-streamed studio demos hosted on the Anchorage Museum Facebook live page. Artists worked across a variety of media, including printmaking, carving, photography, textile, and sculpture. Examples of process sharing included etching a copper plate; casting a stainless-steel mask; cyanotype printing on fabric, and hand-crimping kammak soles.Audience engagement with this content was tremendous. Posts featuring artist work racked up hundreds of likes and many comments on social media. Livestreams were well-attended. Artists cited positive experiences in these residencies including: professional development through working with Museum staff; financial support for materials during the pandemic; exposure to new audiences; opportunities to organize personal archives; practice talking about their work; and opportunities to learn more about the Museum collection. Printmaking with Ethan Lauesen Cyanotype Test Print Time Lapse with Jenny Irene Miller Live Kammak Making Demonstration with Kunaq Tahbone
By |November 6th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist Residencies
  • Permalink Gallery

    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Tlingit Jewelry Making: Virtually

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Tlingit Jewelry Making: Virtually

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Tlingit Jewelry Making: Virtually 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. ARTShops 2020Tlingit Jewelry Making: VirtuallyStory by: Mary Goddard If 2020 taught us anything, it was to use the tools that we have to continue on, to adapt and overcome. My first initial thoughts for teaching jewelry virtually was to avoid it, wait until COVID-19 passes, then get back to hands-on teaching. However, if I did that I would have missed the opportunity to teach jewelry making to two ready individuals. Sometimes, timing is everything.I want to start off by thanking The CIRI Foundation, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts for creating this opportunity for me to teach. This ARTShop has really become a jumping-off point for both of the students to receive guidance and valuable tools and materials (to keep) to begin their craft. The LessonsWith the jewelry making starter kits and lessons that I put together for Josh and Jason, they were able to learn how to create copper and spruce root earrings, copper and abalone earrings, hammered pendants, and a keychain with leather and trade beads. Each of these projects had to be made from hand, start to finish by the students. They both had dentalium, extra spruce root, copper, and trade beads to experiment with. For both the students, this was their first time working with traditional materials. The chance to have hands-on experience with these traditional materials really gave them an opportunity to connect with Indigenous knowledge and begin to learn what makes the traditional materials so special and meaningful in our Tlingit culture. This was an opportunity for me to share stories about how spruce root is traditionally prepared, what dentalium was valued for, and reminding them to get to know and understand their materials and supplies when creating with them. “I loved the class, it was very easy going and fun, but at the same time I learned a lot. I think it was a perfect kick start to spark a flame to bigger and better things to come.”JoshARTShop Participant VirtualThe virtual part of the learning was not as challenging as I originally thought it would be. Due to schedule differences, I chose to offer 5 lessons with a total of 13 short videos, with corresponding lesson plans, and with follow-up weekly zoom meetings. The videos were made available and both Jason and Josh online, at their convenience. In order to finish the lesson, they each had to text or email a picture of their finished lesson project. “First, wanted to say thank you for this amazing opportunity! This class has provided a lot of opportunities and has been a definite stepping stone toward an awesome hobby and eventually a career. I’ve really enjoyed using Indigenous materials; such as copper, spruce root, abalone, etc. Gotta start somewhere and this has been the perfect opportunity to learn the basics of working with metal and its effects. The course has provided everything we need to create finished, wearable jewelry. Which is pretty neat! Mary has been a great teacher and has been there if I ever have questions. I look forward to learning as much as possible in metal art. If there is an opportunity to learn more in an advanced course, I would be super interested. Again thanks a lot for the course and doing all the legwork.”JasonARTShop Participant Social MediaTo share with others about the ARTShop project, I created 8 posts and 6 stories that I shared on both my Instagram and my Facebook page over the span of a week and a half. It was a lot of fun, as the jewelry that I created for each lesson was given away in contests.The response from my followers about classes was super positive, with at least ten others wanting to take classes virtually and learn this style of jewelry. It was really encouraging and I was really pleased with the feedback.ARTShop was really successful. Both students received a foundation in working with essentials tools and traditional materials to create jewelry from start to finish. I am confident that through the lessons and the tools that I provided through ARTShop 2020 both Jason and Josh can take their newly learned skills and have their own culturally-based business, or at the very least, hobby. Facebook Follow Mary Goddard on Facebook for more of her work.
By |November 6th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Tlingit Jewelry Making: Virtually