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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.”

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!

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

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Trey Oursler

“Rocketing Bearkat”
Story and Photo from: Trey Oursler

I was extremely lucky to be chosen as a recipient through The CIRI Foundation to pursue my college education at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. I studied Communications with a minor in English Literature […]

By |January 4th, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Trey Oursler

Heritage Project Grant- Coloring Alutiiq in Ouzinkie

Project: Coloring Alutiiq
Grantee: Alutiiq Museum & Archaeological Repository
Story by: Amy Steffian

On a rainy, windy day in September, the children at Ouzinkie School had some special visitors. Alutiiq artist Hanna Sholl and three members of the Alutiiq Museum’s staff flew to the rural community […]

By |December 14th, 2018|Featured Posts, Heritage, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant- Coloring Alutiiq in Ouzinkie

A Journey To What Matters- Learning From Our Elders

Project: Journey of Artistic Exploration
Grantee: Bethel Council of the Arts
Story by: Laura Ellsworth

There were 14 students lined up and ready to go on the first day of the Nasqurrun (headdress) sewing class […]

By |December 11th, 2018|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters- Learning From Our Elders