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Responsive Design

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Avada includes the awesome Layer Parallax Slider as well as the popular FlexSlider2. Both are easy to use!Learn More

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Latest From The Blog

  • A Journey to What Matters- Sugpiaq Shield & War Club Class

A Journey to What Matters- Sugpiaq Shield & War Club Class

  • September 22nd, 2020

Eight students, ranging in age from 16 to 74, made a traditional Sugpiaq-styled folding shield and war club throughout this two-week long class at the beginning of August.  Project: Sugpiaq Shield & War Club ClassGrantee: Ilanka Cultural Center, Native Village of EyakStory and photos: Teal Hansen With assistance from The CIRI Foundation’s (TCF) “A Journey to What Matters” grant program, Ilanka Cultural Center (ICC) offered a Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) Shield and War Club class taught by master carver, Andrew Abyo of Anchorage. Through the honor of this grant, ICC was able to provide an opportunity that allowed the community a chance to revive an art skill inherent in our ancestry and expand their knowledge on the reality of life for Native people in the Chugach Region. “It is important to teach the community about Native arts and cultural values so that we can maintain respect for Native people and their traditions.” - Native Village of Eyak (NVE) Tribal Member and CIRI Shareholder, Nick Tiedeman In traditional Sugpiaq society, warfare was used to garnish wealth, avenge injustices, raise influence, and acquire valuable goods, which included women and slaves. The Sugpiat would war with their own neighboring communities, with Unangax (Aleut’s) to the southwest, Tlingit to the southeast, and with the Dena’ina to the west-northwest. Among other weapons and armor, Sugpiat warriors would carry these wooden clubs and large shields into battle. Sugpiaq stories and legends often lead to conflict and illustrate lessons that were deemed important for future generations.Throughout our history, majority of this area’s cultural artifacts have been stolen and/or taken to foreign museums or private collections around the world. Because of this, NVE tribal members have never had access to a Sugpiaq-styled shield or war club through Ilanka’s cultural programs or museum. ICC was created in 2004 during a time where many of our tribal members were just beginning to create artwork that illustrated our history with contemporary tools and mediums. As an establishment that represents the indigenous people of the region, we must continue to look at how our culture fits into the contemporary world, where we wish to stand in the future, and do so without losing sight of our past.By explored traditional concepts taught by Abyo, the class was able to recreate a tool that was necessary for protection, cultural preservation, and took an active role on shaping our history. It is for this opportunity that we sincerely thank The CIRI Foundation for their role in making this class a reality and appreciate their commitment to maintain cultural priorities.

  • A Journey to What Matters- Hnaa tsesi Workshop and Gathering Project

A Journey to What Matters- Hnaa tsesi Workshop and Gathering Project

  • February 4th, 2020

Project: Hnaa tsesi Workshop and Gathering Project Grantee: Bunnell Street Arts Center Story and photos: Melissa Shaginoff The Hnaa tsesi Workshop and Gathering brought 22 Elders and youth from the Ahtna villages of Gulkana, Tazlina and Copper Center together for storytelling, workshop, and potlatch. In addition to this gathering, three Dene objects including a moose hide jacket, a sheep horn ladle, and a hnaa tsesi (roll-up sewing bag) were borrowed from a private collection in Anchorage and traveled to the villages.Over a potlatch meal and examination of these objects, the Elders had the opportunity to share with the youth stories about each object, especially the hnaa tsesi. They shared that both women and men had these bags. That they were once filled with tools to sew, bead, and sustain their life-ways. One elder shared that even the wax in the hnaa tsesi, used to prepare thread for sewing, could also provide sustenance in times of famine. Together, Elders and youth examined the hnaa tsesi. Looking at the materials, design, and beading, the youth set to construct their own bag with the guidance of the Elders, my art assistant, and myself. But beyond the construction of the hnaa tsesi was discussion of Ahtna values of preparedness, flexibility, resilience, and survival. This discussion then shifted to an exchange between Elders and youth describing the importance of seeking and nurturing these values in our current lives and community. If this workshop and gathering would to be repeated, I would have consulted the community in an in-person interview asking what specific objects they would like to see and what workshop they would like taught. We did have the opportunity to potlatch where we gifted all the Elders with blankets and honoraria. I believe this action left an impression of transparency, that our purpose in both workshop and gathering was only to support the community in facilitation and, in Dene tradition, lead with the intention to know and understand each other. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 16%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

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