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    Education Project Grant- Alaska Native Birthworkers Community Full Spectrum Indigenous Doula Training

Education Project Grant- Alaska Native Birthworkers Community Full Spectrum Indigenous Doula Training

Alaska Native Birthworkers Community Full Spectrum Indigenous Doula Training Grantee: Alaska Native Birthworkers Community, Story by Helena Jacobs, Project Coordinator The Alaska Native Birthworkers Community (ANBC) contracted with Melissa Brown (Anishinaabe-Dine midwife) and Candace Neumann (Indigenous doula) of Zaagi’idiwin to offer a virtual Full Spectrum Indigenous doula training for current and aspiring Alaska Native/Indigenous birthworkers. The training occurred May 24-27, 2021, from 9am – 4pm each day. The four-day course touched on seven parts including but not limited to: History of Birth for Indigenous Women, Reproductive Justice, Grief & Loss, Pregnancy, Traditional Teaching Tools, Labor & Birth, Postpartum and Caring for the Caregiver.Melissa, Candace and a number of other Indigenous birthworkers offered online instruction from Winnipeg, Manitoba and other provinces throughout Canada, while 27 participants joined online from other parts of Alaska or in person at the Athabascan Ceremonial House on the Alaska Native Heritage Center campus in Anchorage. We also had sharing about local plants and storytelling from a Nome area Elder and Traditional Healer.The ANBC has provided volunteer community doula services to members of our Native community for the last three years, and our goal in hosting this training was to grow the number and capacity of Indigenous doulas to serve Native Birthing families statewide. ANBC offered this training free of personal financial cost to participants due to the generous contributions of organizations such as The CIRI Foundation who funded the training. Registered participants agreed to “pay it forward” by volunteering to serve at least one Alaska Native / Indigenous birthing family in their community within a year of completing the training.To learn more about the Alaska Native Birthworkers Community, please visit www.nativebirthworkers.org or email nativebirthworker@gmail.com.Enaa baasee’ to TCF for supporting these educational and healing opportunities for Native peoples!
By |September 16th, 2021|Education, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on Education Project Grant- Alaska Native Birthworkers Community Full Spectrum Indigenous Doula Training
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    A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2021: Caribou Tufting and Beading Medallions

A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2021: Caribou Tufting and Beading Medallions

A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2021 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. Graduate ARTShops 2021Caribou Tufting and Beading MedallionsStory by: Rochelle Adams, ARTShop Leader I’m so excited about the workshop that I was able to complete for my Garduate ARTShop project. I was able to hold it during the same time as our Native Language Technical Institute in Gwichyaa Zhee/ Fort Yukon when our elders were gathered from the region to do language work.We made caribou hair medallions and other projects. First we dyed the caribou hair and then we did caribou hair tufting and beading. I learned a lot in the process and will be making language lessons to share with my pictures. I hope to someday make a book out of it.I really loved this project! I grew a lot in the language, it strengthened my connection to my culture, our cultural knowledge, my community and the participants. I’m grateful to shape my thought process of this activity within the language and to create an actual piece that was done entirely in immersion. Mahsì’ choo for the opportunity!
By |August 2nd, 2021|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2021: Caribou Tufting and Beading Medallions
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    A Journey to What Matters- Revitalizing Cottage Industry and Intergenerational Work in Rural Alaska to Strengthen Community, Self-Reliance, and the Northwest Coast Weaving Traditions

A Journey to What Matters- Revitalizing Cottage Industry and Intergenerational Work in Rural Alaska to Strengthen Community, Self-Reliance, and the Northwest Coast Weaving Traditions

Revitalizing Cottage Industry and Intergenerational Work in Rural Alaska to Strengthen Community, Self-Reliance, and the Northwest Coast Weaving Traditions Grantee: Friends of the State Library, Archives and MuseumStory from Weavers of Chilkat and Ravenstail, Photos by Sydney Akagi Photography Seasoned Weaver, Lily Hope (Tlingit), is a full-time artist, teacher and weaver of Northwest Coast Textiles. Through her constant teaching work, she realized there was a shortage of suppliers: only three artisans who thigh-spin daily to sell warp needed for the handful of Chilkat blanket makers, and hundreds of students and textile lovers of both Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving, the premiere finger-twined textiles of the Northwest Coast. Additionally, there are very few persons who dye using the anthropologically recorded natural dyes for woven ceremonial textiles.Hope partnered with TCF, Sealaska Heritage Foundation (SHI), Friends of the State Library, Archives and Museum, and a few creative allies to bring about six FREE instructional videos on SHI’s Youtube channel, for easy access. She also compiled, ordered, bundled, and shipped all needed materials for thigh-spinning and natural dyeing to weaver teachers in six rural Southeast Alaska Communities, including Angoon, Yakutat, Sitka, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Kake. These weaver teachers agreed to share their materials and watch the videos together with younger weaver students in their communities, supporting intergenerational learning. The aim is to empower rural Alaskan weavers to become self-sufficient in material preparations, and hopefully find some weavers or youth who are interested spinning and dyeing regularly, selling much-needed warps and weft yarns to support full-time weavers across Alaska and Canada, while supporting their own families with cottage industry income.Feedback from the YouTube video tutorials so far is tremendous, with over 1600 views! Many weavers in Alaska and beyond feel like they can support their own weaving by spinning a little bit each day, building up supply for their next projects. We have yet to find the spinner or dyer who loves spinning more than weaving, but the knowledge is permanent now, so we are confident our needed people will connect with us soon.Gunalcheesh, TCF, SHI, and the Friends of the State Library Archives and Museum, Authentimedia (Scott Burton Productions), Sydney Akagi Photography, and Graphic Designer Ursala Hudson. Many Thanks to Weaver, Lily Hope, who shares with deep generosity of spirit. Our textile art forms will be carried into the next hundred years with strength and integrity, with heart and community support. Thank you again for your help.
By |June 11th, 2021|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Revitalizing Cottage Industry and Intergenerational Work in Rural Alaska to Strengthen Community, Self-Reliance, and the Northwest Coast Weaving Traditions

TCF Scholarship Recipient- Jordan Finney

Thank you TCF! Story and Photo from: Jordan Finney Dear The CIRI Foundation,  I would like to express my gratitude to The CIRI Foundation scholarship program for your financial support between 2017-2021. Because of your generosity, I was able to focus on my education and stress less about where my funding would come from. I have graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Hawaii Hilo. I plan to work in Alaska and hope to give back to my community. Again thank you for your generosity. Sincerely, Jordan Finney  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 |May 18th, 2021|Featured Posts|Comments Off on TCF Scholarship Recipient- Jordan Finney
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    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Bentwood Box Making Class

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Bentwood Box Making Class

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership ARTShops 2020 Bentwood Box Making Class Story by Robert Mills 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. Thanks to the CIRI Foundation and the Alaska State Council on the Arts for supporting a Bentwood Box making class in Kake, AK through the ARTShop program. Although COVID prevented the class from happening in person in 2020, I was able to make the class happen in 2021. Bentwood Boxes were once prevalent and highly valuable trade items up and down the Northwest Coast. Due to the many facets of colonization, many of those boxes have been looted and now exist in institutions around the world.Worst yet, the practice of making them ceased to exist in some communities. With the class in Kake, we hope to begin making these beautiful items again to promote cultural vibrancy, healthy learning environments, and continue the technology for generations to come. We were able to have many kids attend the class as well as people who are teaching in the community, so hopefully the practice continues to perpetuate itself. Follow Robert Mill's Work Here
By |April 12th, 2021|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Bentwood Box Making Class
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    A Journey to What Matters- “Native Artist” Explores Identity and Lost History

A Journey to What Matters- “Native Artist” Explores Identity and Lost History

“Native Artist” Explores Identity and Lost History By Alexis Sallee, INDIGEFI Host and Producer I’m Alexis Sallee, host and producer of INDIGEFI, a weekly one-hour public radio show featuring an eclectic blend of modern Indigenous music. Aside from the weekly radio show, I’ve worked in audio for film and TV in the greater Los Angeles area for the last nine years.In 2020, I was fortunate to work on a project that has given me the opportunity to focus on a diverse group of Native artists, and share their unique stories on the multimedia “Native Artist” series, a project of INDIGEFI.Funding from The CIRI Foundation’s Journey to What Matters program helped us to bring two episodes of “Native Artists” to listeners that are centered on Alaska Native artists: Drew Michael (Yup’ik and Iñupiaq) a carver and mixed media artist, and Tristan Agnauraq Morgan (Iñupiaq) a painter.I have always thought of myself as a listener, and as someone who listens to learn. I feel there is a connection between this quality and my Indigenous heritage, (Iñupiaq and Mexican) with its legacy of oral traditions and storytelling. I learned so much from interviewing the artists who participated in this project, and about their personal journeys practicing their art, and expressing Indigenous traditions to make them their own. I realized at some point that I was working in a medium and a style that had so much history. And there was also a lot of lost history…I felt like there was this huge book that I needed to start reading, but then there wasn’t one. In my eyes I didn’t have the access, because I had no idea what was even out there. Drew Michael Featured in “Native Artist” Episode 3 I particularly enjoyed producing the episode of “Native Artist” focused on Drew Michael, who shared his struggles with identity as Alaska Native artist from Bethel who grew up with white adoptive parents in Eagle River. His search for answers led him to traditional Native art, and a journey of self-education, research, and guidance from mentors including Joseph Senungetuk, Kathleen Carlo, and Perry Eaton led him to life as a working artist.Among the topics Drew discussed in this episode included his work with Alaska Native dance group Pamyua to experiment with masks that allow the parts to move as a dancer moves. Drew talked about how both he and Pamyua work in traditional realms, but expressed in a modern way, which has enabled an effective collaboration for danceable masks. Listen to Native Artist Podcast by INDIGEFI The Native Artist podcast takes a deep dive into the stories of Indigenous artists, spanning a wide range of artistic disciplines. From directors and writers to carvers and fashion designers, artists share their unique stories and perspectives on navigating these fields while reclaiming Native identity. Listen and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Play Stitcher
By |March 4th, 2021|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- “Native Artist” Explores Identity and Lost History
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    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Braiding Beach Grass

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Braiding Beach Grass

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership ARTShops 2020 Braiding Beach Grass Story by Apay'uq Moore 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. As part of my ARTShop project, I spent four days harvesting red salmon and camping at Togiak Lake with my mom. In returning to Twin Hills, we harvested grass between four generations. It was memorable and priceless. It was new to us, as we have never done that together. We have never spent time aiming for a goal in creative gathering. Usually we subsist for food, but to participate in gathering for an art project was something I will forever cherish, as I recall the day, the breeze, the clouds, my grandma’s voice, my kids in the background, and the setting of being in Twin Hills, a place of saturated love and nostalgia for the parts of my identity where I unknowingly learned to be Yup’ik as a child. The most important part of this, was tapping into the memory of my mom and grandma. To hear them recall advice from a time that was so different from now was like magic. Follow Apay'uq Moore's Work Here
By |March 4th, 2021|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Braiding Beach Grass

A Journey to What Matters- Culture Box: Art Kits for Youth

 Culture Box: Art Kits for Youth A Journey to What Matters Grantee: Alaska Native Heritage Center In the midst of a world pandemic, the world we knew then came to a halt and the impact was devastating to the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC). In the spirit of our Alaska Native Heritage Center Ten Universal Values, we give much respect and gratitude to The CIRI Foundation (TCF) for demonstrating similar values when it reached out to ANHC with an invitational grant for an Art Kits for Youth project.ANHC is a living cultural center that promotes active creation of art, featuring permanent collections and educational programs. Knowing that kids were out of school, and parents now found themselves in the position of having to work from home, be teachers for their kids, and make sure the kids have safe activities, ANHC did what we could immediately. Via our Facebook page, we began offering live streams/recordings of Alaska Native storytellers from all over the state, art activities like animal masks and snow visors that could be done with materials found around the house, and cooking videos. When the ANHC Team were brought together to visualize, develop and support the Art Kits for Youth project, the idea of a Culture Box was born. At its core, the Culture Box, Art Kits for Youth, is fundamentally connected to ANHC’s mission to preserve and strengthen the traditions, languages, and art of Alaska Native People through statewide collaboration, celebration and education.    The intended audience for the Culture Box project is the K-12 Alaska Native student population. Our approach to this project was inclusive of the various learning levels of those who would be enjoying and utilizing the Culture Box. And who better to have inform the work than those closest to the work, our ANHC Interns who produced more than 800 individual pieces of age appropriate art for anyone in the K-12th grade; although we did hear from parents how much they enjoyed and felt connected to being an Alaska Native through the Culture Box project and shared comments like, “This was an awesome experience!” or “Wish I had this when I was a young child.”The Culture Boxes have had a far reaching impact on the intended audience and beyond. Culture Boxes were requested from all across the state of Alaska and the lower 48. The 250 Culture Boxes were created, on time, within budget, and steeped in the philosophy of quality verse quantity. For example, in the necklace project we use real glass beads vs plastic or seal fur vs fake fur.Of those who completed the post project survey, 100% indicated they became more aware of Alaska Native art and culture; 90% indicated significant increase in knowledge and 90% of the responses indicated they were able to participate in cultural activities that otherwise would not have been available to them.On behalf of ANHC, Quyanaqpak, thank you very much for entrusting us with this exciting project. We deeply value our partnership with TCF! Downloads from Alaska Native Heritage Center
By |February 1st, 2021|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Culture Box: Art Kits for Youth
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    A Journey to What Matters- Artist in Residency at Anchorage Museum: Sarah Ayaqi Whalen-Lunn 

A Journey to What Matters- Artist in Residency at Anchorage Museum: Sarah Ayaqi Whalen-Lunn 

Artist in Residency at Anchorage Museum:  Sarah Ayaqi Whalen-Lunn  A Journey to What Matters Grantee: Anchorage Museum, Story by Sarah Ayaqi Whalen-Lunn Block and test print of Release, my project for the residency. During my month in residency with the Anchorage Museum I chose to work on one specific lino carving. It was interesting for me to have to slow down and think about my process and then step by step share that with people via social media. For the first time I did time lapse videos and other videos of the actual carve and I think it really allowed me a new way to connect with people, allowed them to see the time and effort put into a piece as well as challenged all of my areas of comfort by forcing me to open up about my work. Over all I am very happy with my experience with this residency. I think it opened me up to new ways of sharing that I will continue on and allowed me the time to take a step up in my carving process.Thank you for this. Learn more about Sarah’s artist-in-residency courtesy of Anchorage Museum in their blog and livestream. 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 |January 29th, 2021|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Artist in Residency at Anchorage Museum: Sarah Ayaqi Whalen-Lunn 
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    A Journey to What Matters- Protection: Adaptation and Resistance Workshops in Customary Arts

A Journey to What Matters- Protection: Adaptation and Resistance Workshops in Customary Arts

Protection: Adaptation and Resistance Workshops in Customary Arts A Journey to What Matters Grantee: Bunnell Street Arts Center, Story by Asia Freeman Energized by movements for social justice, concerned about climate change impacts on cultural survival, and sobered by the ongoing pandemic, Bunnell Street Arts Center present ed workshops by and for Indigenous Alaska artists addressing the theme of “Protection” featuring regalia, wearable art, sculpture, songs and masks. The workshops reflect Bunnell’s ongoing work to resist the colonization of Alaska and shift the conversation from how people used to live to how contemporary Indigenous art forms offer cultural protection today. The workshops were funded by The CIRI Foundation’s A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Art & Culture grant program and Alaska Community Foundation Corona Virus Relief Fund.Joel Isaak (Dena’ina, Alaska) served as the project’s Cultural Advisor. Joel Isaak’s family is from the village of Ch’aghałnikt (Point Possession) and currently lives in Soldotna, Alaska. He shared the following: “Our lifeways, material culture, and protocols serve as armor to resist efforts to exterminate us. They are rooted in the power to unite and create space for all people. When we break down the efforts of those who work to silo, segregate, and discriminate there is space for all people and all living things. In an environment that seeks to destroy the living, valuing life has become a powerful form of resistance.” Workshop DescriptionsSewing a traditional “trapper hat” of otter fur with Yup’ik artist Peter Paul Kawagaelg Williams as a way to explore Yup’ik culture and philosophy of reciprocity between human, plant, animal and spiritual worldsLower Tanana Denakenaga’ Songmaking with David Engels, who has studied this art for the past twenty years, beginning with his grandmother;Atikluk (snow shirt) Making with Bobby Itta, who loves to create customary art with a modern twist;Chilkat Weaver Lily Hope lead a cohort of Chilkat weavers in hand-twining a Chilkat Protector Mask from start to finishMarjorie Kunaq Tahbone (Inupiaq and Kiowa, Nome) taught an intergenerational workshop on how to carve naniq (seal oil lamp) using soapstone and hand tools.Due to a medical emergency, Benjamin Charles (Bethel) postponed his workshop on carving a customary Yup’ik mask, using positive and negative space to modern carving tools and wood properties. 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 |January 29th, 2021|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Protection: Adaptation and Resistance Workshops in Customary Arts