AK) - The Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) will be presenting
special programming to honor Elders on Saturday, November 1, 2003
from 10am to 5pm at the ANHC. This is one of the continuing series
of Celebrating Culture Saturdays sponsored by BP, which presents
a unique cultural program each week. Complimentary refreshments
will be provided starting at 11:30am.
Alaska Native Heritage Center recognizes the importance of honoring
Elders for the contributions they have made to our families and
communities. Within Native culture, children were taught to give
their "first" bird or animal kill, a bucket of berries
or something that they made to an Elder. Today in many villages,
the first salmon or animal killed is still given to the Elders of
the community. For Alaska Native people living in Anchorage and
being so far away from their families in rural villages, the practice
of sharing a "first" with an Elder is often difficult.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center's Honoring Elders Day is an event
that reaches into the Native Cultural tradition of sharing with
Elders. Elders have shared their values, traditional knowledge and
cared for us. This is an opportunity to say "thank you".
will be special performances by the Mount Susitna Sleeping Lady
Singers and Drummers, ANHC Dance Troupe and the Artie Joseph Fiddlers.
The Mount Susitna Singers Sleeping Lady Singers and Drummers were
founded in 1990 and are devoted to a sober lifestyle. Their songs
are primarily in the traditional style of the Northern Plains and
also include some from the Southern Plains. The group embraces contemporary
innovations to augment their traditional background. The Alaska
Native Heritage Center's Dance Troupe began in the fall of 2001
as part of ANHC's After-School Program for Alaska Native high school
students. The initial vision was to offer a performance component
to the students, teaching them traditional Native dance (Yup'ik
Eskimo dancing). The group has studied with master dance instructors
from throughout the state, expanding its performance repertoire
to include Tsimshian, Inupiaq, and Aleut singing and dancing. The
dancers, dressed in traditional regalia, perform dances that tell
stories of traditional Native legends and lifestyles. The Artie
Joseph Fiddlers are from Anchorage and their members include Artie
Joseph, Louise Britton and David Chanar. The Athabascans of Interior
Alaska learned fiddle music and step dancing from early traders
and quickly made it their own. Distinctive styles developed along
the great waterways that cut through the vast Interior landscape.
Fiddle dances have become popular with other Alaska Native cultures
and are an endearing tradition that Athabascan fiddlers continue
Andrews, Inupiat and Yup'ik, will be giving the welcome. Andrews
lived in the Inupiaq village of Pt. Hope, the Yup'ik village of
St. Marys and the Athabascan village of Kaltag. She has worked and
served in many Native organizations including four years at the
Alaska Native Heritage Center. Her grandfather, Pete Nakak, was
from Big Diomede Island and her grandmother, Nora, was from Stebbins
and St. Michael. Andrews is skilled in making parkas, Yup'ik dancer
dolls and ivory and bead jewelry.
Stephan, Athabascan, will be giving a blessing to the younger generation.
Stephan is an Elder and Tradition Bearer from the village of Eklutna.
She has served on various advisory committees since the inception
of the Alaska Native Heritage Center in 1987 and currently serves
on the Center's Program and Policy Committee. Stephan also serves
on the Southcentral Foundation Elders Committee and has published
several books on the Athabascan people of Cook Inlet.
Jimerson, Upper Tanana Athabascan and of the Naltslln Clan, will
be the guest storyteller. Jimerson currently lives in Anchorage
but grew up in Tetlin. She has been fluent in her language since
early childhood. This was the first language in their household.
Her grandmother, Ada David, made sure the children of the family
learned the ways and stories of old times and how she came over
the mountain by Tetlin Lake as a child. She remembers the quiet
winter nights listening to her grandmother's stories. Although she
can't remember the voice of her grandmother, she does acknowledge
the great impact she made which helped mold who she is today.
Arts and Crafts sessions will be available throughout the day for
all ages. Instructions include how to make: Athabascan Chokers,
Yup'ik/Cup'ik Women's Tool Bags, Inupiaq/St. Lawrence Island Yupik
Hunting Slings, Aleut Visors and Southeast Stone Necklaces. Several
videos will be shown such as Stories Given, Stories Shared, Siulipta
Paitaat: Our Ancestors' Heritage, The Way We Live, Haida Elders
Interviews and Agayuliyararput: Our Way of Making Prayer. There
will be Native storytelling and demonstrations of Native games.
can experience the five recreated village sites that illustrate
the traditional structures in a typical village before or shortly
after contact with non-Native cultures. Knowledgeable tour guides
will share the history, culture and traditions of each site.
Alaska Native Heritage Center is an independent, nonprofit that
is open year-round as a gathering place to celebrate, perpetuate
and share Alaska Native cultures; it is a place for all people.
It is located at 8800 Heritage Center Drive in northeast Anchorage,
just off Muldoon Road North near Bartlett High School. For more
information about other events and programs, visit www.alaskanative.net