A Journey To What Matters- Traditional Material Arts at Elders and Youth

Project: Traditional Material Arts at Elders and Youth
Grantee: First Alaskans Institute
Story and Photo by: Lena Jacobs, Participant

I, along with my four children between the ages of 2 and 13 and my husband, attended the Athabascan beadwork and red and yellow cedar weaving workshops at the 2017 First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference. I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in hands-on arts activities and to have my children participate as well. We learned new technical skills for tangible arts (I had never woven cedar before), but we also gained cultural knowledge to help guide our weaving and beading and understand when and how these activities should be done. We met new people as we were at large round tables and interacted with both Elders and youth from all over the state. The camaraderie and willingness of people to help each other and share new knowledge created a beautiful exchange, and I know that some of these people going home with this new knowledge will share it with others. We were so grateful to have this opportunity, and I look forward to more!

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A Journey To What Matters Project Grant- First Light at Mt. Edgecumbe

Project: First Light at Mount Edgecumbe Grantee: First Light Alaska Story and Photo by: Loulare Moore It was an honor and a pleasure for me to participate in the Mount Edgecumbe classes this spring. Not only was I allowed to share some of what I have within me, I gained a broad respect for the students … Read more

A Journey To What Matters Project Grant- Ilanka Cultural Arts

Project: Ilanka Cultural Arts Grantee: Native Village of Eyak Story and Photo by: Brooke Johnson Our village was able to receive a grant from The CIRI Foundation in 2016 to study our local masks and work on making our own stained glass mask, a medium that was new to almost all of us. This was a … Read more

A Journey To What Matters Project Grant- Traditional Alutiiq Skin Sewing and Beading Education

Project: Traditional Alutiiq Skin Sewing and Beading Education (2015)
Grantee: Native Village of Afognak
Story and Photos by: Nina Gronn

The Native Village of Afognak (NVA) was awarded A Journey To What Matters grant from the CIRI Foundation. NVA used the funding at our Dig Afognak Youth camps for two separate traditional Alutiiq art projects.

Our first project was completed at our Traditional Harvesting and Adventure Earth camp, where the youth created fur pouches that replicated the traditional Alutiiq pouches that our ancestors used. The second project was completed at our Cauyaq (“Music” / Language) Camp, where the youth created Alutiiq head bands. The head bands were used as regalia for their Alutiiq dancing performance at the end of the 6-day long camp.

Both projects were taught by both lecture and hands on learning from a master skin sewer.


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A Journey To What Matters and ASCA Partnership- ArtShops 2016 Ancient Alutiiq Cell Phones


Project: ArtShops 2016 Ancient Alutiiq Cell Phones Alaska State Council on the Arts Partnership Photos by: Anna Lisa Nelson 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 … Read more

A Journey To What Matters and Heritage Project Grant- Culture in the Classrooms

Project: Culture in the Classrooms
Grantee: Cook Inlet Native Head Start
Written by: Marilynn Woods, Cultural Coordinator

Dustin Newman & Tatiana Petticrew

We had Dustin Newman and Tatiana Petticrew share with our students the items that they made for our classrooms, Dustin made bentwood visors and Tatiana made Unangax regalia. The students were able to touch all the items and learned a little history about each. Dustin made the visors match each classroom animal and Tatiana made a girl and boy regalia item for each class.


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A Journey To What Matters Project Grant- Twining Cedar

Project: Twining Cedar- Restoring the Art and Cultural Practice of Tsimshian Bark Basketry Grantee: Anchorage Museum Association in partnership with the Haayk Foundation Photos by: Wayde Carroll [one_half last=”no”] [/one_half][one_half last=”yes”] Written by: Kandi McGilton  The Haayk Foundation – a nonprofit organization located in Metlakatla, Alaska, whose primary goal is to save Sm’algyax, the endangered language of the … Read more

A Journey To What Matters Project Grant- Material Traditions: Cedar Residency

Project: Material Traditions: Gut, Ivory, and Cedar Grantee: Anchorage Museum Association Written by: Marian Kaminitz As a conservator from the National Museum of the American Indian – one of the loaning institutions to the Anchorage Museum’s Arctic Studies Center – I was invited to observe and participate in the Voices from Cedar residency with guest carvers John Hudson, … Read more

A Journey To What Matters Project Grant- Alaska Yuut Arts- Dolls Workshop

Project: Alaska Yuut Arts and Crafts E-Commerce Project
Grantee: Association of Village Council Presidents (ACVP)
Written by: Eva Malvich, Director/Curator Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center

For many generations, little Yup’ik girls were provided with ‘cloth’ dolls – entire families consisting of dad, mom, big brother, big sister and baby, a traditional teaching method targeted at young girls in order for the females to learn how to raise a family. Most recently, with the advent of western lifestyles and the cash economy, those same little girls grew up making bigger, more elaborate dolls to sell for cash.

When you think of it, Yup’ik dolls (and any home-made doll for that matter) are a great way to use up precious scraps of fur and cloth, hide and trim. Most often, the same doll maker, is also adept at making fur parkas, mukluks or qaspeks, and has a nice tidy supply of scraps at hand.

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