Elders and Youth conference sets stage for Alaska Federation of
Read the entire article: www.alaskadispatch.com
Condensed by Native Village
Last month, over 1,300 Alaska Natives gathered in
Anchorage for the three-day Elders and Youth Conference (EYC). The
yearly event seeks to ground Native youth in
traditional culture as they look toward the future.
Hosted by First Alaskans Institute, his year's theme was "Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present,
Preparing for the Future." The EYC focused on messages
that promoted good health along with workshops on topics such as culture, language and Native law.
The three keynote speakers at the event all focused on one part of
Elder Elaine Abraham, Tlingit, chairs the Alaska Native Science
Commission. She spoke to the
by imploring youth to revive the use of Native
names. Native names connect us to landmarks and loved ones,
unite all Native cultures and are spiritual
links to past name bearers. Taking pride in one's name leads to
pride in culture and family, and help ground us for the future.
Inupiaq John Baker of Kotzebue spoke on the
present and encouraged kids to stay true to their dreams.
This value helped him become the first Native to win the
Iditarod in 35 years. When Baker was asked to name his
roll model, he said "his mother."
Adele Argaitchiaq Solski, the youngest keynote speaker,
spoke about honoring the
The Inuapiaq senior at Lathrop High School said strong connections
to her culture strengthened her emotionally.
After each keynote speech, discussions were based on the qasgiq, the traditional sod house
where young boys were educated by their male elders. Following the qasgiq model, young
men and women separated into different rooms to talk with their
Tony Kaleak performs with the Nuvukmiut Dance Group from Barrow
Members of the Acilqaq Dance Group
The Mount St. Elias Dancers
Thomas Friemering with the Anchorage Tlingit and Haida Dancers
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