AK) - Alaskans can join in to preserve vital aspects of Native
language, dance and art. The Alaska Native Heritage Center
will kick off its new Cultural Education Program during Learn
to Native Dance Saturday, January 10, 2004. This program will
consist of hands on classes where the public can come and
learn various Native dances. Learn to Native Dance Day is
one of the continuing series of Celebrating Culture Saturdays
sponsored by BP.
Cultural Education Program that starts January 10th will include
classes in art, dance and language at all Saturday programs.
Classes will be taught by Master Artists, Elders, Tradition
Bearers and ANHC staff members. The Cultural Education Program
is generously sponsored by a grant from the CIRI Foundation.
Dance classes will provide the opportunity to learn the technique
and cultural significance of dances and songs from all eleven
Alaska Native cultures. Students will learn a new dance and
song weekly and then be given the chance to perform in front
of an audience. Classes will be held weekly during Celebrating
Dance Workshop - Ya Ne Da Ah School
A representative from the Chickaoon Ya Ne Dah Ah School will
be teaching Athabascan Dance. In 1992 Chickaloon Village decided
to bring back the traditional ways of teaching for its young
people. In addition to stories and language, elders from other
villages taught the children traditional songs and dances
of the Athabascan people.
Dance Workshop - William Jackson
William Jackson is Tlingit of the Raven Moiety and Coho clan.
His Tlingit name is Staqwan. Jackson was born in Juneau, raised
in Seattle and now resides in Anchorage. He currently sings
and drums with a local Southeast Group, Naa Luudisk Gwaii
Yaxti. He is also a traditional and contemporary storyteller.
Yupik Dance Workshop - Elaine Kingeekuk
Elaine Kingeekuk has been teaching the language of Siberian
Yupik for about 23 years to school age students from her village
of Savoonga. She is an Eskimo dancer and enjoys teaches others
to dance. She is also well-known for her doll making. Kingeekuk
dresses the dolls in traditional clothing using traditional
Dance Workshop - Warren Matumeak
Warren Matumeak is an Inupiaq elder from the town of Barrow.
In the late 1990's he retired as Head of the North Slope Borough
Wildlife Department and he also served as chairman of the
North Slope Borough Planning Commission. Warren has lived
the Inupiaq subsistence life, which included reindeer herding.
He is the leader and composer of the Barrow dance group, Suurimmaagtchuiat.
Dance Lesson - Phillip Blanchett
Phillip Blanchett was born in Bethel. Blanchett is the co-founder
and manager for Pamyua. He began his Yup'ik dancing career
learning traditional and contemporary dances with Kicaput,
an Anchorage-based Yup'ik performance group. Today Phillip
continues to write, direct and produce many of Pamyua's projects.
Art classes will include weekly instruction by Master Artists,
local artists or ANHC staff. Students will create an art piece,
learn the history and cultural significance of the respective
art form and have the opportunity to establish mentorship
relationships with artists. Classes will be held on Saturdays
with morning and afternoon sessions and will run for 4 to
Alutiiq Headdress - Viola Inga
Learn how to make small Alutiiq headdresses with master artist
Viola Inga. Inga was born in Old Harbor, Alaska. She is of
Inupiaq Eskimo and Alutiiq descent. Her native name is Naqhooc
and she has been weaving and making Native art since she was
a little girl. She quotes "I would rather weave baskets
and make beaded headdresses instead of cooking".
Beading - Mabel Pike
Tlingit Indian Master Artist Mabel Pike is from the Whale
House in Klukwan of the Gonaxtade Clan. Pike was taught beadwork
by her grandmother, Flora Wilson and has been doing beadwork
since she was six years old. She enjoys sharing her culture
through stories and demonstrations. Like her grandmother,
Pike loves passing on the traditions to the youth.
Language classes will include weekly instruction in Tlingit,
Dena'ina Athabascan, Yup'ik, Sugpiaq and Inupiaq. Students
will learn components of phonetic pronunciations, how to introduce
themselves and understand the protocols of the culture as
defined by the language. Classes will be held on Saturdays
with morning and afternoon sessions and will run for 4 to
Language Class - Jim Wilson
Jim Wilson was born and raised in Nondalton. Wilson was a
dance leader for the Nondalton Dancers before moving to Anchorage
and is now the leader of the Denaina Dancers. He started dancing
at 10 years old and it was sacred dances that got him interested.
His Grandmother, Tatiana Hopson (Constantine), spoke only
the Dena'ina language to him as a youth.
Language Class - Paul Marks
Paul Marks is Tlingit of the Raven House Lukaxadi Sockeye.
Tlingit is his first language. He has been teaching in a formal
class setting in Juneau since the 1980's and teaching traditional
protocol since the early 70's. Marks was trained by his mother,
Emma Marks and father, Willie Marks, in traditional values
and was groomed for leadership by his clan leader Austin Hammond
Sr.. Marks is a traditional totem pole carver who was taught
by his father.
art and language classes are for high school age and above.
Classes are limited to 15 people and are on a first come,
first serve basis. To register for classes, call 330-8002,
Monday through Friday, 8am to 5pm. Dance classes are open
to all ages and there is no registration necessary.
addition to the art classes, there will be arts and crafts
sessions for K through 12. Instructions will include how to
make Yup'ik/Cup'ik Medicine Pouches, Inupiaq /Saint Lawrence
Island Yup'ik Eskimo Yoyos, Alutiiq Visors, Southeast Stone
Necklaces and Athabascan Necklaces.
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
at each site.
Alaska Native Heritage Center is an independent, nonprofit
that is committed to sharing, perpetuating and preserving
the unique Alaska Native cultures, languages, traditions and
values through celebration and education. 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
Kay E. Ashton
Alaska Native Heritage Center
Fax: 907 330-8030
Phone: 800 315-6608