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Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Opportunities to Celebrate

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebrated at ASD

Title VI Indian Education and the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School (ANCCS) are partnering to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day this year on Saturday, October 9.  Parents and students are invited to stop in between 1 and 3 PM at the new ANCCS campus at Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School.  There will be great food, storytelling with elders, Native cultural arts and crafts, and time together to celebrate the Native heritage of the past, present, and future.


What is Indigenous Peoples’ Day

This holiday represents the sustaining relationship between the Native families of today and the communities that share in Indigenous wealth.  On June 28, 2017, Governor Walker signed the commemoration into State Law:  “This official recognition is just one way we, as a state, can acknowledge and celebrate the contributions made by First Peoples throughout the history of this land.”  Anchorage families can attend celebrations this October 11 with a free day at the Anchorage Museum, attending performances all day at Alaska Pacific University, and attending livestreams of the events.


ASD Land Acknowledgements

The Dena’ina have lived, hunted and gathered within the Cook Inlet region for thousands of years.  We thank the Dena’ina for their stewardship of the lands, water, air, and all life that sustains us within their traditional lands.  We respect the Dena’ina cultural ways and their homelands and shall strive to be good neighbors.


When ASD does a Land Acknowledgement, is it done to honor the past, present, and future First Peoples whose cyclical stewardship with the land represents the responsibility of living here.  According to Northwestern University, “Long before skyscrapers and more recent city life spread across the region, these Indigenous Nations have been in relationship with the land and, with that, carry responsibilities. … Today, Indigenous peoples continue to protect and remain in relationship with these relatives and will do so until the end of time.”



College Gate

College Gate students work with the school’s Youth Development Tutor, Sandra Roys, to make traditional fry bread.   The Alutiiq Museum writes, “When did Kodiak’s Native people adopt fry bread? Some think it is a Russian addition, others suggest this food was developed in the American era...   Perhaps Alutiiq families faced with commercial foods also created fried bread, or perhaps children sent to Native boarding schools learned how to make it from friends.”  This food has many names in Alaska Native languages, including “Alatiq” by Northern Alutiiq Tribes and “Alaciq” by Southern Alutiiq Tribes.


College Gate 2

A College Gate elementary student shows off her design of a Traditional Unangax Hunting Hat.  These are called qayaatx^ux  in the Unangam Tunuu language.  According to the Alaska Native Collections at the Smithsonian, “Classic hunting hats [are] painted with fine lines, ‘sand dollar’ designs, swirls, rosettes, and leaves, using pigments made from plants and minerals. Long whiskers from bull sea lions [are] added in back. Only the most highly respected men—chiefs, whalers, and dauntless hunters—could wear the hats.”