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History and Culture

Home  >  History and Culture  >  Cultural Heritage
These articles and essays reflect the cultures and heritages of Alaska's people and speak to the preservation of Alaska's history. Some of the articles cover topics and feature organizations that promote an awareness of cultural identity.
Our Land, Our Decisions, Our Destiny: Building a Sustainable Economy
As the 40th anniversary of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act approaches, CIRI president and CEO Margie Brown surveys its past, present, and future.

Strength in Unity - 2011 AFN Closing Comments
Ethan Schutt's closing speech from the 2011 Alaska Federation of Natives Conference. "May we live our lives so that Our Words Have Power."

Alaska and Alaska Natives: The Next 50 Years
Alaska Native leader Byron Mallott challenges Alaskans to "create a new language about the future of Alaska."

Listen to the Other Guy's Story
Father Michael Oleksa shares a way to develop community in Alaska through cultural understanding.

I Didn't Even Need a Passport!
My first visit to St. Vladimir's Seminary in the New York suburbs brought me in contact with a man who said he was destined for Alaska.

The Alaska Flag Story (2 pages)
Thirteen-year-old Benny Benson designed a flag with "eight stars of gold on a field of blue" that not only won an American Legion contest in 1926 but became Alaska's territorial and, later, state flag.

Alaskool Web Site (2 pages)
As an Alaska Native growing up in Alaska, Paul Ongtooguk was often surprised that schools offered so little about the issues and history of Alaska and its Native communities. The Alaskool web site has much of the information he wished had been taught.

An Introduction to the Chevak Curriculum
John Pingayaq's curriculum focuses on traditional knowledge and values; as a carver, music composer, playwright, dancer, and singer as well as a subsistence hunter, he brings to his curriculum detailed knowledge of the values that nurtured the People through the ages.

CIRI's Native Pride Program (2 pages)
In partnership with the Anchorage School District Indian Education program, CIRI is developing The Native Pride Program, designed to decrease the number of high school dropouts and increase pride among Alaska Native and American Indian students.

KNBA Vitality of Cultures
KNBA 90.3 FM in Anchorage expresses the vibrancy of Native cultures through a variety of programs featuring storytelling and oral traditions. Founded in 1996, KNBA is the first, and only, urban Native American public radio station in the nation.

The Alaska Native Heritage Center
The tradition of storytelling is intrinsic in all Alaska Native cultures. It has been used since ancient times to tell about family histories, life lessons, tell of valuable role models, mythology, and entertainment. The stories of any people tell a great deal about their culture.

Listen. There's a Story Here
Meet Lucille Davis, an Alutiiq elder originally from the village of Karluk, located on the southwest side of Kodiak Island. Davis serves on the Kodiak and Afognack elders council, and has been sharing stories about her life on Kodiak Island for many years.

Every Person Should Leave a Legacy
For John Bagoy, unmarked graves are important reminders of lost identity. He has teamed up with the Cook Inlet Historical Society, CIRI and other donors, to identify and mark nearly 3,000 graves in the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.

Shari Huhndorf: Helping the Nation Find a Conscience
Shari Huhndorf, in her book Going Native: Indians in the American Cultural Imagination, addresses the history of distortion and romantizication of Native American culture and customs by European Americans.

Elder Interview with Alberta Stephan
Alberta Stephan is author of several books on the traditional lifestyle of Dena'ina Athabascan. In 1994, she wrote a recipe book on how to prepare traditional Dena'ina Athabascan salmon. Two years later, in 1996, she wrote The First Athabascans of Alaska, followed in 2000 by Cheda, a story about her grandmother.

Elder Interview with Walter Austin
Walter Austin is a Wisdomkeeper, an international cultural ambassador who has traveled to South America, Central America, Australia, Canada, and Europe on behalf of Alaska Natives. He speaks on mental and human health as the underlying causes of the world's problems.

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