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KNBA News - June 17, 2016

Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan Drops Out of U.S. Senate Race

By Associated Press

Alaska won't have two U.S. senators with the same name. Former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan says he’s dropping out of the Republican primary race challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Sullivan tells KTUU he can best serve Alaskans by working on local and statewide issues. Alaska's junior U.S. Senator and former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan was elected in 2014.

First Evidence of Ancient Trade With Asia Uncovered in Northwest Alaska

By Emily Russell, KNOM - Nome

There’s new evidence that metal goods from central Asia made their way to Alaska long before contact with Europeans.

That’s according to a study published this month in the Journal of Archeological Science, but there’s still a lot unknown about one artifact in particular.

“The buckle is about three centimeters in length and maybe two to three centimeters wide,” explained Kory Cooper, an archeologist at Purdue University and one of the authors of the study. He’s been working for the past few years with Owen Mason, who was there when the buckle was discovered.

“Near the end of the season, as it always is, one of our excavators came across [a] metal object,” Mason explained.

Mason spends almost every summer at Cape Espenberg in northwest Alaska—one of the oldest inhabited settlements in North America. Mason’s team, also led by archeologist John Hoffecker, has found a handful of other metal artifacts over the years, but he said he knew right away the buckle was unique.

“Cast bronze, which is a very elaborate type of technology, had really never been seen before, so immediately, this piece stood out.”

To cast or to mold metal requires very high temperatures, and, according to Mason, there’s never been any evidence of that in Alaska’s prehistoric settlements.

To be sure, Mason sent the buckle down to Kory Cooper’s lab in Indiana, where Cooper used x-ray technology to confirm traces of tin and lead in the buckle.

“So this is the first time that anybody has found this kind of object that is definitely something that was made by metal-producing cultures,” Cooper said, “most likely somewhere in Eurasia.”

Cooper was also able to confirm the buckle dates back to at least 800 AD, when Cape Espenberg was still a village, but Owen Mason says a lot of questions remain unanswered.

“There’s still a lot of mystery here,” Mason said. “How did something get manufactured in Manchuria or Korea, and how long did it take to make its way to Alaska?”

Mason and his colleagues are still working on those answers. Their efforts are part of a larger project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs.

Mason said archeological work at ancient sites like Cape Espenberg is more urgent than ever.

“With the thawing of permafrost, with global change, with climate change, the sites are being subject to thawing and degradation,” Mason explained.

Mason is on his way back up to Cape Espenberg for what he hopes will be another groundbreaker season in the field.


Cook Inlet Tribal Council wins national recognition for innovative training in advanced technology

The “White House Champions of Change” program is scheduled today [Friday] to present Cook Inlet Tribal Council, or CITC, with an award for an innovative educational program that teaches kids about advanced technology. In a prepared statement, the tribe said its fabrication laboratory, or “Fab Lab,” gives students access to tools such as high-tech design programs, industrial grade manufacturing machines and sophisticated electronics and programming.  

CITC says the Fab Lab was created in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as a way to challenge youth to reach their full potential in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Renee Fredericks, CITC director of the Youth Education and Employment Services department will accept the award in a ceremony that will be live streamed at the White House website today [Friday] at 9 a.m. Alaska time.

Eklutna Powwow to Feature Music, Arts and Crafts Sales, and Traditional Native Foods

By Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage

The Native Village of Eklutna is hosting an intertribal powwow this weekend at mile 26-point-five on the Glenn Highway. Eklutna First Chief and President Lee Stephan says people will be able to enjoy singing and dancing by several Alaska Native cultures.

“Dance groups: We’ll have Inupiat, Yup’ik, Athabascan, Aleut and Tlingit,” said Stephan.

Stephan invites people to bring side dishes for a potluck meal at 2:30 both days, where people can get a taste of Native subsistence foods.

King salmon, red salmon, moose meat,” said Stephan, “and hopefully muktuk and herring eggs and deer, and whatever else can come from throughout Alaska.”

The Eklutna Powwow will also include raffle drawings, and sales of arts and crafts, as well as a dance for teens and youth Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 per car. Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.