Ahtna Cultural Summit in Glenallen this month

Alaska Native Languages
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I’m hoping to attend the Ahtna Cultural Summit  in Glenallen Fri. May 29 and Sat. May 30 at Glennallen High School.

From the flyer:

The Ahtna culture and language are dying out like a fire that hasn’t been tended. If we are to save what is left, we must act now. Join us as we discuss what we can do to revive what makes us Ahtna Koh’taene.

One of the rich but often overlooked aspects of the Tok community is its proximity to a large number of Alaska Native villages and peoples. I recently had the honor of attending a dinner for a Northway elder, my first experience with traditional events and foods from this area. I sampled moosehead soup and muskrat (a mild, oily meat) although I didn’t get a chance to taste the beaver or beaver tail.

I was struck by the community aspect of the event. Everything is a community effort, from the event preparation to the serving to the cleanup in an organic way based on friendship, hierarchy, and other understood  roles. This is not “event by committee” that I’m more used to where it is like a homework assignment to do your part. I look forward to more experiences and learning from our neighbors.

Recently, I missed a tremendous event in Anchorage – the Indigenous Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change. I’m (not) surprised at how little national coverage this global event received, and it was right in our back yard! If anyone attended and would like to share some stories, I’d be happy to publish them on this blog.

On a related note, I’ve been sitting for over four years on a proposal to do a documentary film about traditional knowledge and global warming, always pushing it back as life happened. I’m feeling like the time is now to revisit this project. I’m open to speaking with interested parties about this.

Another related piece of news is that there will be some archaeological test digs in the Refuge this summer. I’m hoping to interview the professor who is leading them and bring some of their information and findings to this blog.

I feel like some doors have been opened here because the time is now for reaching out and communicating with our neighbors, sharing knowledge and resources, and telling our stories to a wider audience. Our world and many of our communities are in crisis. Now is the time to come together.

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