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Featured Posts

A Journey to What Matters- Exploring Native Textile History

Exploring Native Textile History From Steve Henrikson, Alaska State Musem Curator The Alaska State Museum is preparing a large exhibit exploring the history of textiles developed over the past two centuries by Alaska Natives and First Nations of the Northwest Coast–primarily Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian weavers. Six weavers, most representing these tribes, were selected to serve as project advisors, and in April 2019, met in Juneau to discuss the scope of the exhibition. Janice Criswell (Haida), Lily Hope (Tlingit), Lani Hotch (Tlingit), Evelyn Vanderhoop (Haida), Marie Oldfield (Tsimshian), along with Kay Parker and Steve Henrikson (ASM Curator) held two days of fruitful discussions concerning the topics to be covered in the exhibit (opening May 2020) display, and a look at the “ravenstail” and “naaxein” (aka “Chilkat”) weavings in the museum collection. Since this was a rare opportunity for weavers to discuss the history and importance of their art, the proceedings were taped and transcribed to preserve the information for future generations of weavers.
By |September 11th, 2019|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Exploring Native Textile History

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Lauren Sanford

My Journey to Becoming a Speech Pathologist Story and Photo from: Lauren Sanford​ My name is Lauren Sanford and I was born and raised in Washington State. My mom was born and raised in Fairbanks, and has taught me to love and appreciate my Alaska Native heritage through educating me about my great grandmother, a strong Iñupiaq woman who served Alaska during World War II and ran her own dog team. Hearing stories like her’s inspired me to pursue a career where I will be able to serve and make a difference in others’ lives as a speech pathologist. The CIRI Foundation has been a large contributor to my journey to becoming a speech pathologist. I attended Baylor University in Texas for four years of undergraduate studies in the speech pathology department, and it would not have been possible without the generous funding from TCF, all four years. Currently, I am pursuing my Master’s in speech language pathology at Washington State University and earned an Annual Achievement Scholarship from The CIRI Foundation. This generous scholarship covered a large portion of my graduate tuition, allowing for minimal debt post grad, and the ability to pursue a career I love with much less stress. In the future, I plan to use my degree to serve rural areas of the Alaska Native community, where speech pathologists are greatly needed. I am so thankful to be a part of an Alaska Native community that supports continuing education and provides scholarships that make a huge difference in many students’ lives like myself!
By |August 27th, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Lauren Sanford

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Peter DuBois

“An Inuit in Arizona” Story and Photo from: Peter DuBois I am Yupik Inuit, and a CIRI descendant of James and Mabel Larsen, my grandparents, original CIRI shareholders and my mother, Katherine DuBois, also an original CIRI shareholder. I am a PhD candidate in […]
By |August 1st, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Peter DuBois

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Ayyu Qassataq

“Iḷisimmaaġiksuaq” Story and Photo from: Ayyu Qassataq Through my work and studies, I aspire to embody one of our traditional Iñupiaq characteristics: Iḷisimmaaġiksuaq – one who seeks knowledge and wisdom to become an informed and active contributor to their community. I strongly believe […]
By |July 31st, 2019|Featured Posts, TCF Recipient|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Ayyu Qassataq

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!
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 */ 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
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