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A Journey to What Matters- Weaving a Yup’ik Issran

Project: Weaving a Yup’ik IssranGrantee: Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center AlaskaStory by: Dawn Biddison In 2019, the Alaska office of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center partnered with Qanirtuuq Inc. and Quinhagak Heritage Inc. to research and document in their village the Yup’ik tradition of weaving an issran, a grass carrying-bag made with an open-weave twining technique that is rare today. Local artist Grace Anaver joined the team as lead artist, under the guidance of her older sister Pauline Beebe and assisted by her younger sister Sarah Brown. Locally harvested taperrnaq (coarse seashore grass) was gathered and processed for drying and curing in July, and grass from the previous fall was dyed.In August, Grace taught Yup’ik grass weavers and learners how to twine an issran in the Nunalleq Culture & Archaeology Center, where they studied ancestral twined weavings from the 700-year old Nunalleq archaeological site. The workshop participants were Tenaya Bell, Jacki Cleveland, Grace Mark, Anna Roberts, Dora Strunk, Larissa Strunk, Lonnie Strunk and Meta Williams. The collaborative work resulted in a set of eleven videos – Material Traditions: Weaving a Yup’ik Issran (Grass Carrying-Bag) – that includes detailed information, instructions and demonstrations from start to finish. You can find the videos online on the “Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center in Alaska” site on the Learning Lab platform at https://learninglab.si.edu/org/sasc-ak in the Community Videos section.
By |October 6th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Weaving a Yup’ik Issran

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

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.
By |September 22nd, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Sugpiaq Shield & War Club Class
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    A Journey to What Matters- Sitka Fine Arts Camp Culture Classes Phase 2

A Journey to What Matters- Sitka Fine Arts Camp Culture Classes Phase 2

Project: Community Cultural Classes, Phase 2 Grantee: Alaska Arts Southeast Story and photos from: Mary Goddard Community Cultural Classes, Phase 2 was a successful program hosted by the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, and made possible through The CIRI Foundation. Our greatest success was working with […]
By |March 27th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Sitka Fine Arts Camp Culture Classes Phase 2
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    A Journey to What Matters- Hnaa tsesi Workshop and Gathering Project

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

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 */
By |February 4th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Hnaa tsesi Workshop and Gathering Project
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    A Journey to What Matters-Alaska Native PLACE Kec’otl’ Workshop

A Journey to What Matters-Alaska Native PLACE Kec’otl’ Workshop

Project: Alaska Native PLACE Kec’otl’ Workshop Grantee: Alaska Native Heritage Center Story by: Erin Gingrich Photos by: Carla Gingrich On November 23rd and 24th students and artists gathered to learn how to make Kec’otl’, a Dene Athabaskan work boot constructed out of smoked moose hide, canvas, thread, artificial sinew, tanned hide lashing, fleece lining and yard draw strings. The work boot was historically made for everyday wear and use as a more understated utilitarian item.The workshop taught by Sondra Shaginoff-Stuart gathered many people together to learn how to make a single cotton mock up boot for sizing before proceeding into crafting the smoked moose hide booties that were later attached to the canvas boot shaft to make a pair of custom fitted Kec’otl’.During the workshop Athna Language and sewing terms were shared, indigenous stories were told and Native food was eaten as students worked on their boots.  The skin sewing was done with the good thoughts and intentions that surrounded the event as students were taught how to honor and respect the materials shared. #gallery-2 { margin: auto; } #gallery-2 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 20%; } #gallery-2 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-2 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ Sewing Cotton mock up Cutting smoked moose hide Skin sewing moose hide Finished moose hide booties Trying Booties on for size
By |January 29th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters-Alaska Native PLACE Kec’otl’ Workshop
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    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2019 Kamipiaq Hard Bottom Crimping Class

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2019 Kamipiaq Hard Bottom Crimping Class

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2019 Kamipiaq Hard Bottom Crimping 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. Project: ARTShops 2019 Kamipiaq Hard Bottom Crimping Class Alaska State Council on the Arts Partnership Story by: Joni Edwardsen The Kamipiaq Hard Bottom Crimping Class took place in Utqiagvik, Alaska. I held a small group gathering to teach them the process of how to make kamipiaq/maklak hard bottoms out of bearded sealskin. I chose to do a small group to ensure my teaching was intentional through a one-on-one interaction. The class lasted 4 days (evenings) in order for their projects to be complete. The outcome was a success! Each participant learned the skill from start to finish and they feel confident in accomplishing this skill again on their own.
By |January 20th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2019 Kamipiaq Hard Bottom Crimping Class
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    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2019 Unangan Fishskin Boot Workshop

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2019 Unangan Fishskin Boot Workshop

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2019 Unangan Fishskin Boot Workshop 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. Project: ARTShops 2019 Unangan Fishskin Boot Workshop Alaska State Council on the Arts Partnership Story by: Laresa Syverson At three ARTShop events during the summer and fall of 2019, I shared how to clean and process fish skins to use for sewing projects, with an overarching goal of researching and reclaiming Unangan footwear. After a generous donation of halibut skins from Westward Seafoods for the two fall events, local participants learned how to clean the skins, preserve the skins until ready for sewing, and were given multiple examples of how the drying and manipulating process will give varied results. Participants were given frozen, unprocessed fish skins to take home and use in a project of their own choosing. I am looking forward to having more opportunities to view Unangan footwear in person, forming patterns, and learning the Unangan language for teaching this art. As I learned more about fish skins and how to use them, I also formed working relationships with local people and organizations. Just like there are many fish in the sea with unique skins that are useful for a variety of purposes, there are uniquely skilled people living in my community. I worked with a voice actor for advertising, the processing plants for different skins, and viewed gut sewing and stitching at our Museum. The ARTShop experience will enrich my creative process and my ability to lead within the community for years to come.
By |January 20th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2019 Unangan Fishskin Boot Workshop
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    Heritage Project Grant- KNBA’s Coverage of Alaska Federation of Natives Convention 2019

Heritage Project Grant- KNBA’s Coverage of Alaska Federation of Natives Convention 2019

KNBA’s Coverage of Alaska Federation of Natives Convention 2019 The CIRI Foundation made a Heritage Project grant of $20,000 to Koahnic Broadcast Corporation to support KNBA’s annual broadcast coverage of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention October 17-19, 2019.KBC 2019 AFN Convention coverage included:Gavel-to-Gavel coverage of the Convention from the Carlson Center in Fairbanks from October 17-19, 2019.A one-hour daily interview program, “Alaska’s Native Voice” focusing on a relevant issue.A daily five-minute AFN Convention news recap.Stories from the Convention were filed for KNBA and National Native News.Stories from the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference were filed for the statewide broadcasts and National Native News.      #gallery-3 { margin: auto; } #gallery-3 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-3 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-3 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ The broadcasts were aired on KNBA-FM, streamed online, and made available to stations across the state via Koahnic’s Native radio distribution service, Native Voice One (NV1).  Our 2019 gavel-to-gavel broadcasts were carried in whole or in part by 18 Alaskan stations and 48 repeaters and translators, from Utqiaġvik to Yakutat. In addition, we increased the reach of our AFN coverage with feature stories on the AFN Convention and the Elders and Youth Conference that were broadcast nationwide on National Native News both during and after the Convention. Koahnic also provided a “Young Media Makers” session at the annual First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference, October 14-17, 2019 at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. Youth participants produced two short radio features that were broadcast on all stations that carried our gavel-to-gavel broadcasts, including KNBA. The features focused on the theme of the conference, “Qaneryararput Yugtun Riniqerput/Qaneryararput Cugtun Kayuqerput,” or “Language is Our Super Power.” The 2019 AFN Convention was held at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. AFN’s chosen theme for this year’s Convention was “Good Government, Alaska Driven,” and top leaders addressed the delegation. Speakers and panelists included: keynote speaker Pete Kaiser, Musher, 2019 Iditarod Champion; Kevin Allis, CEO, National Congress of American Indians; U.S. Attorney General William Barr (via live video link); U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski; U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan; U.S. Congressman Don Young (via live video link); Tara Sweeney, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Katherine Gottlieb, President and CEO, Southcentral Foundation; Melanie Bahnke, President and CEO, Kawerak, Inc.; Gloria O’Neill, President and CEO, Cook Inlet Tribal Council; and Sophie Minich, President & CEO, CIRI. The gavel-to-gavel broadcasts were hosted by NV1 Network Manager Bob Peterson (Yup’ik). Peterson provided a description and analysis of the Convention’s proceedings while identifying and reporting on trends and themes of the Convention. During breaks in the proceedings, Peterson interviewed a variety of guests, and other team members contributed informed commentary during the broadcast. KNBA’s AFN production team included; Program Director Loren Dixon; News and Public Affairs Producer Tripp Crouse (Ojibwe); producer Emily Schwing; National Native News Anchor/Producer Antonia Gonzales (Navajo); and NV1 Station Relations Rep. Nola Daves Moses.  Kristi Shallenberger, from KYUK in Bethel, joined us as a second producer through a competitive application process that supports collaboration between KNBA and rural stations. KNBA also produced a 1-hour pre-produced show broadcast at 8:00 AM and Noon each day, “Alaska’s Native Voice.”  Hosted by National Native News Anchor/Producer Antonia Gonzales, and produced by Gonzales and Schwing, the program featured interviews that delved deeper into topics and issues raised during the convention proceedings. The “Alaska’s Native Voice” programs also included the five-minute AFN daily news segment. The three archived programs of “Alaska’s Native Voice,” and the entire broadcast, are available on-demand at the KNBA website at knba.org and the NV1 website at nv1.org. The convention’s focus was of immediate interest to all Alaska Natives and to non-Natives as well.  The coverage allowed KNBA to make information available to Alaskans throughout the state. For those who could not travel or leave work to attend the proceedings, this was information that they might not otherwise have had access to. We promoted an online listener survey to gather audience feedback, with results indicating that respondents felt that the broadcast coverage had increased their understanding of the issues raised during the convention. First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference 2019 Preceding the AFN Convention, Koahnic and Alaska Teen Media Institute (ATMI) worked with Elders & Youth Conference attendees for 2019 “Young Media Makers” training and production sessions. More than 60 participants took part in an interactive 90-minute training session on the first day of the conference, and students produced two short radio features for broadcast.Koahnic staff providing the training included Jaclyn Sallee (Iñupiaq/CIRI Shareholder), KBC President and CEO; Antonia Gonzales (Navajo), the Anchor/Producer of National Native News; Angela Jenkins (Yup’ik), Resource Development Specialist for The RIVR; and NV1 Network Manager Bob Peterson (Yup’ik). Indigefi Host/Producer Alexis Sallee (Iñupiaq/CIRI descendant) and producer Tomás Karmelo Amaya (Yaqui/Zuni/Tarahumara) also provided audio and video training for the session. In addition, Alexis and Tomás debuted a new video production of Indigefi, “Who We Are,” to a full audience at the main stage of the Carlson Center on October 15. Presenting with them was Iñupiaq artist Tristan Morgan, who is featured in the video, which was shot in Nome and Shishmaref, and features an Alaska Native artist (Morgan) responding to the changing climate in her traditional homeland.The two “Young Media Makers” features produced by the participants were broadcast as part of our gavel-to-gavel coverage of the AFN Convention. Fifteen participants completed a participant survey following the sessions, with responses indicating that the training had resulted in an increase in media skills.
By |January 8th, 2020|Featured Posts, Heritage, Project Grant|Comments Off on Heritage Project Grant- KNBA’s Coverage of Alaska Federation of Natives Convention 2019
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    A Journey To What Matters- Soapstone Carving Using Denaakk’e & Inupiaq

A Journey To What Matters- Soapstone Carving Using Denaakk’e & Inupiaq

Soapstone Carving Using Denaakk'e & Inupiaq Story by Dewey Hoffman My partner Marjorie Kunaq Tahbone and I cohosted a 90 minute workshop on carving soapstone with Elders and Youth Participants in October 2019.We integrated words, phrases and commands in both Denaakk’e (Koyukon Athabascan) and Inupiaq languages. It wasn’t quite long enough in length, but students were able to have a hands on experience carving and working with their hands to cut, contour and smooth their pieces. One of the highlights was hearing a student say “I can’t do it!” while cutting a stone, but with persistence eventually was able to complete that step in the process. The Alaska Native Arts Studio at UAF helped by donating the use of carving tools.
By |January 7th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters- Soapstone Carving Using Denaakk’e & Inupiaq
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    A Journey To What Matters- Sivuqam Kelugwi: A St. Lawrence Island Traditional Sewing Curriculum

A Journey To What Matters- Sivuqam Kelugwi: A St. Lawrence Island Traditional Sewing Curriculum

Sivuqam Kelugwi: A St. Lawrence Island Traditional Sewing Curriculum Project: St. Lawrence Traditional Sewing Grantee: Kawarek, Inc. Story by Danielle Slingsby Skills such as skin sewing were essential to the survival of our ancestors. In the past, these traditions were passed down from generation to generation inside a tent by the light of a seal oil lamp, or in a small home surrounded by loved ones. In the present day, with the Western education structure, the knowledge held by our culture bearers can at times seem impossible to access.  But with an idea and a passion to ensure cultural knowledge remains alive for future generations, Lydia Apatiki of Sivuqaq recently published “Sivuqam Kelugwi: A St. Lawrence Island Traditional Sewing Curriculum,” complete with downloadable patterns, online videos, PowerPoints, and tutorials for students to learn how to make an aangquq (game ball), taghnughhaghwaaq (St Lawrence Island cloth doll) and atkuk amighqwaaq (birdskin parka). The journey to get to the final product was not an easy one, but it began with Lydia’s dedication to preserving the knowledge of her ancestors. The connections to find the resources to turn her desire to a reality started at a Native Artists Professional Development Training offered by Kawerak, Inc., and First Peoples Fund. It was there that Lydia identified a grant opportunity that could cover the costs of designing and printing a hard copy of the teachings she held in her head. She dreamed her knowledge could then be passed on to the next generations for lifetimes to come. Through her experience with the schools, Lydia knew that if the traditional practices of sewing were taught in this formal setting, more youth would be exposed to their culture. She knew that the traditional techniques and interconnected language and values could be lost if they weren’t somehow preserved. “By documenting the sewing practices, our young generations will learn about our traditional values, practice St. Lawrence Island Yupik terminology, and learn the traditional stitches,” Lydia commented. “They will become cultural bearers to keep our culture and language alive.” Partnow Consulting helped Lydia turn her knowledge into a curriculum that would be easy for teachers to use in a school setting. Patricia Partnow, 48-year veteran researcher and writer, recognized the project’s value. “Most coastal people in Alaska made parkas out of bird skins, and there are many examples in museums, but Lydia is the only person I know who has made one herself using the knowledge from her elders,” Partnow said. “What a loss if we had not been able to record this bit of human knowledge. And how lucky we are that we have the whole process in the curriculum, from getting the birds to sewing the parka. I don’t know of a comparable curriculum anywhere.”  Apatiki has also made it a priority for the curriculum to be free to educational institutions, so funding would never be a barrier for students to reach their culture. “It is important to know where you come from, to know your language a, traditional values and skills,” Lydia says. The curriculum goes farther than simply offering a pattern and written instructions on how to make items like the aangquq. Through layers of instruction available online, Lydia integrates language learning, hunting skills, material preparation, and cultural values. Lydia realizes that creating these items is not just about the end product. Values, language, and traditions are thoroughly intertwined in these cultural practices, and much is lost if attempting to teach one element in isolation from the others. Utilizing modern technology like videos makes the material more accessible to youth and more understandable for teachers. The videos that accompany the projects show hunting techniques and practices, traditional songs, sewing techniques, and celebrations. Due to the variety and depth of content, challenges in communication and funding, and expert consultation for development and design, the curriculum took two years to complete. The support of partners like Kawerak, First Peoples Fund, The CIRI Foundation, Bering Sea Lions Club, Partnow Consulting and Gales Communications and Design was crucial to the project. “We want people to know that their knowledge is valuable, their skills are valuable, and they have the ability to use this to provide for themselves and their families,” says Alice Bioff, business planning specialist with Kawerak.  “This project is exciting because it blends tradition and technology, education and business, culture and art all in one.” Although the curriculum is free to educational institutions, anyone will be able to purchase the curriculum online and have access to all the materials and downloads. The fee will support the hosting of the online sharing platform and ideally also return a profit to the Apatiki family. Local people documenting generations-old cultural knowledge to ensure that the knowledge will be available to many future generations is in itself an act of making history. As Patricia Partnow reflects. “From the viewpoint of history alone, Lydia and her art are a treasure.”
By |January 6th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters- Sivuqam Kelugwi: A St. Lawrence Island Traditional Sewing Curriculum