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A Journey to What Matters

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    A Journey to What Matters- 2020 Elders & Youth: Living and Loving our Cultures Workshop

A Journey to What Matters- 2020 Elders & Youth: Living and Loving our Cultures Workshop

2020 Elders & Youth: Living & Loving our Cultures WorkshopStory by: Helena Jacobs My mother, four of my children, and I were all blessed with the opportunity to participate in the first ever virtual FAI Elders & Youth Conference Living & Loving our Cultures workshops this year! My daughters and I were set up on a zoom call in our dining room doing the “Painting Our Ways of Life” workshop with Sylvia Lange (Tlingit) doing acrylic painting on canvas, my mom and son were set up on a Zoom call in our living room doing the “Cedar Bracelet Making” workshop with Debbie McLavey (Haida) and RoMay Edenshaw (Haida), and my other son was set up on a Zoom call in my office doing the “COVID-19 Mask Sewing” workshop with Mellisa Johnson (Inupiaq).Sylvia asked each virtual workshop participant to choose something we wanted to paint, and then encouraged us and answered questions throughout. She shared about mixing paints, color theory, contrast, and techniques with different brushes or materials, while showing many examples of her work. It was so fun!In reflecting on this workshop, my 7 year old said there were so many cool designs that people chose that had different patterns and colors that she felt inspired seeing what they made. She said it felt good to be able to be free to paint whatever she wanted. She had fun and loved this activity so much that she wanted to go to her grandpa’s house the next week to participate in a paint night activity led by Sugpiaq artist Sara Squartsoff online. As we were preparing our painting stations, my five year old excitedly exclaimed, “this is going to be the best day of my life!” because she was so excited to do this activity with her mom and her older sister.Enaa baasee’ to The CIRI Foundation, to First Alaskans Institute, and to all our instructors and peers for this amazing opportunity! 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 |November 24th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- 2020 Elders & Youth: Living and Loving our Cultures Workshop
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    A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2020

A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2020

A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2020 Parka Ruff and Trim 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. Bobby teaching via Zoom Graduate ARTShops 2020Parka Ruff and Trim Class: VirtuallyStory by: Bobby Itta, ARTShop Leader For my Graduate ARTShop project, I taught a two-day parka ruff and trim class using Zoom. Five students participated from Anchorage, Seldovia, and Utqiagvik. On the first day, students learned how to stretch an animal hide of their choice. On day two, I went over how to draw, cut, and sew a ruff. It was a little difficult to teach on-line, as I usually teach in a classroom and can share more details in person, but overall the class was great and I had awesome students! Being able to make clothing is an important skill for people to learn, so that they can learn to keep themselves warm and pass down their skills to their children or family. I learned from my mom, who learned from my grandmother. I am happy to be able to share what I know with others. Follow Bobby Itta's Work Here Participant Danyel Harvey with her completed ruff
By |November 20th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters and ASCA Partnership- Graduate ARTShops 2020

Journey to What Matters- Sivuqaq Parka-Making Workshops

Sivuqaq Parka-Making Workshops Grantee: Bering Strait School District, Story by Brianna (Blatchford) Wheeler Bering Strait School District was able to partner with The CIRI Foundation last fall to provide materials and resources for Qaguus Kunuka to pass on traditional knowledge about parka-making for her older students. Students and community members were excited to see skin sewing, patterns, and other technical skills that might not otherwise have been widely spread being passed to a whole new generation. This group of students worked hard and worked together, learning to use traditional materials and learning to make high-quality, beautiful, functional parkas, start to finish. When COVID hit Alaska and schools closed suddenly, many of these projects appeared to be stranded with no way to finish. However, the students were determined to work hard, learning however they could, in order to complete their work. Parents went to Qaguus with phones to film a new step their students could complete at home. The students asked questions, worked hard, and figured out how, even in a world of distance learning, to connect with their mentor and learn what they needed. On graduation day, the village held a parade for graduates and the students from Qaguus’s class proudly rode through town in sealskin-covered graduation caps and brand new parkas. The whole community celebrated their accomplishments. 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 |November 9th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts, Project Grant|Comments Off on Journey to What Matters- Sivuqaq Parka-Making Workshops
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    A Journey to What Matters- Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist Residencies

A Journey to What Matters- Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist Residencies

Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist ResidenciesStory by: Francesca Du Brock An example of the work by Robin Lovelace. Through the generous support of The CIRI Foundation, the Anchorage Museum was able to provide Virtual Artist Residencies to four Indigenous artists during the summer and fall of 2020. Facing the expanding crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, this project gave Museum curatorial staff the invaluable opportunity to work closely, one-on-one with artists and support their working process, rather than focusing on traditional exhibition models that emphasize product over process. We worked with the following artists, click through their names to read their features on the Anchorage Museum blog. Ethan Lauesen (Tlingit) Robin Lovelace (Tlingit) Jenny Irene Miller (Iñupiaq) Kunaq Tahbone (Iñupiaq) Each residency started in the same fashion, with an interview conducted by the Anchorage Museum Chief Curator, which was developed into a profile published on the Museum blog. These profiles provide audiences with an introduction to the artist, their background, and key motivating factors and themes in their artwork. Artists provided images and feedback on the text. Then, depending on the level of comfort with digital media, artists shared different aspects of their process a minimum of three times throughout the month – through photos and written narration, videos published on the Anchorage Museum Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as live-streamed studio demos hosted on the Anchorage Museum Facebook live page. Artists worked across a variety of media, including printmaking, carving, photography, textile, and sculpture. Examples of process sharing included etching a copper plate; casting a stainless-steel mask; cyanotype printing on fabric, and hand-crimping kammak soles.Audience engagement with this content was tremendous. Posts featuring artist work racked up hundreds of likes and many comments on social media. Livestreams were well-attended. Artists cited positive experiences in these residencies including: professional development through working with Museum staff; financial support for materials during the pandemic; exposure to new audiences; opportunities to organize personal archives; practice talking about their work; and opportunities to learn more about the Museum collection. Printmaking with Ethan Lauesen Cyanotype Test Print Time Lapse with Jenny Irene Miller Live Kammak Making Demonstration with Kunaq Tahbone
By |November 6th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey to What Matters- Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist Residencies
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    A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Tlingit Jewelry Making: Virtually

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Tlingit Jewelry Making: Virtually

A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Tlingit Jewelry Making: Virtually 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. ARTShops 2020Tlingit Jewelry Making: VirtuallyStory by: Mary Goddard If 2020 taught us anything, it was to use the tools that we have to continue on, to adapt and overcome. My first initial thoughts for teaching jewelry virtually was to avoid it, wait until COVID-19 passes, then get back to hands-on teaching. However, if I did that I would have missed the opportunity to teach jewelry making to two ready individuals. Sometimes, timing is everything.I want to start off by thanking The CIRI Foundation, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts for creating this opportunity for me to teach. This ARTShop has really become a jumping-off point for both of the students to receive guidance and valuable tools and materials (to keep) to begin their craft. The LessonsWith the jewelry making starter kits and lessons that I put together for Josh and Jason, they were able to learn how to create copper and spruce root earrings, copper and abalone earrings, hammered pendants, and a keychain with leather and trade beads. Each of these projects had to be made from hand, start to finish by the students. They both had dentalium, extra spruce root, copper, and trade beads to experiment with. For both the students, this was their first time working with traditional materials. The chance to have hands-on experience with these traditional materials really gave them an opportunity to connect with Indigenous knowledge and begin to learn what makes the traditional materials so special and meaningful in our Tlingit culture. This was an opportunity for me to share stories about how spruce root is traditionally prepared, what dentalium was valued for, and reminding them to get to know and understand their materials and supplies when creating with them. “I loved the class, it was very easy going and fun, but at the same time I learned a lot. I think it was a perfect kick start to spark a flame to bigger and better things to come.”JoshARTShop Participant VirtualThe virtual part of the learning was not as challenging as I originally thought it would be. Due to schedule differences, I chose to offer 5 lessons with a total of 13 short videos, with corresponding lesson plans, and with follow-up weekly zoom meetings. The videos were made available and both Jason and Josh online, at their convenience. In order to finish the lesson, they each had to text or email a picture of their finished lesson project. “First, wanted to say thank you for this amazing opportunity! This class has provided a lot of opportunities and has been a definite stepping stone toward an awesome hobby and eventually a career. I’ve really enjoyed using Indigenous materials; such as copper, spruce root, abalone, etc. Gotta start somewhere and this has been the perfect opportunity to learn the basics of working with metal and its effects. The course has provided everything we need to create finished, wearable jewelry. Which is pretty neat! Mary has been a great teacher and has been there if I ever have questions. I look forward to learning as much as possible in metal art. If there is an opportunity to learn more in an advanced course, I would be super interested. Again thanks a lot for the course and doing all the legwork.”JasonARTShop Participant Social MediaTo share with others about the ARTShop project, I created 8 posts and 6 stories that I shared on both my Instagram and my Facebook page over the span of a week and a half. It was a lot of fun, as the jewelry that I created for each lesson was given away in contests.The response from my followers about classes was super positive, with at least ten others wanting to take classes virtually and learn this style of jewelry. It was really encouraging and I was really pleased with the feedback.ARTShop was really successful. Both students received a foundation in working with essentials tools and traditional materials to create jewelry from start to finish. I am confident that through the lessons and the tools that I provided through ARTShop 2020 both Jason and Josh can take their newly learned skills and have their own culturally-based business, or at the very least, hobby. Facebook Follow Mary Goddard on Facebook for more of her work.
By |November 6th, 2020|A Journey to What Matters, ARTShops, Featured Posts|Comments Off on A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ARTShops 2020 Tlingit Jewelry Making: Virtually

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

Project: Weaving a Yup’ik IssranGrantee: Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center AlaskaStory by: Dawn Biddison Photo: Grace Anaver teaches Tenaya Bell how to twine the bottom of an issran (grass carrying-bag), checking their work against a photo on Tenaya’s cell phone of the pattern Grace drew. Photo by Jacki Cleveland, courtesy of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska. 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. “Everybody has an art in them. It’s good for the soul. It’s good for the mind. Grass bags are wonderful. It is time-consuming, but then it’s a fun and enjoyable art in itself. And it’s rewarding.”Grace Anaver (Yup’ik)Project Lead Artist“They shared how the bag was made from our ancestors, and I’m glad that I learned it because it doesn’t have to die out.”Tenaya Bell (Yup’ik)Workshop Student 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 |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