Alaska Native

The University of Alaska will launch a system-wide program geared toward retaining more Alaska Native students at the school and increasing the number of Alaska Native staff members.

The school recently found that Alaska Native students are enrolling, but they don’t always stay.

Tukshaak’éi Sarah Peele (Haida) is a student at University of Alaska Southeast. She transferred from the Fairbanks campus, where she said the professors didn’t make her feel welcome.

In the tiny Yukon River village of Beaver, First Chief Rhonda Pitka has faced dilemma after dilemma this year.

COVID-19 has forced travel restrictions, and closures of the school and offices. Cultural events like potlaches, funerals and an Indigenous language institute were canceled, too.

“Our people have sacrificed so much to keep each other safe,” Pitka said.

New Kodiak park dedicated to Alutiiq ancestors uprooted from their homeland

Jul 5, 2019

The Kodiak Alutiiq/Sugpiaq Repatriation Commission has been working for years to recover artifacts and human remains of the community’s ancestors. As part of that effort, a new park in downtown Kodiak is dedicated to ancestors uprooted from their homeland.

House Tribal Affairs Committee aims to advance state relationships

Apr 1, 2019

The Alaska House of Representatives has a new special committee to focus on tribal affairs.

The committee will aim to advance relationships with tribes. Lawmakers spent the first few meetings getting an overview of how tribes are governed and reach compacts with the state.

A proposed budget by Alaska’s governor zeroes out funding for public broadcasting, including more than a half-million dollars to fund public radio in rural parts of the state.

Rural public radio stations stand to lose about $600,000 under Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed budget.

An Anchorage-based podcaster collects, records and produces discussions about important Alaska Native topics with the goal of indigenizing the podcast.  

The podcast Coffee & Quaq -- the brain child of Alice Qannik Glenn -- starts with a simple phrase, “Radio check. Anybody copy?” In a recent episode, Glenn says the opening is a sendup to growing up in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, and listening to VHF radio. Users would often check to see if the radio was working using the phrase.

Now, that intro carries a new message:

  A rare wooden rattle attributed to a famous Tlingit artist sold at an art auction in California last month. The 230-year-old piece came from a private collector and sold for a half-million dollars.

When Sealaska Heritage Institute Native arts curator Steve Brown first laid eyes on the shaman’s rattle, he was amazed by the piece’s excellent condition.

“Nobody had ever seen this before,” Brown said. “It had just kind of come out of the woodwork.”

Alaska Native writers with work widely published and read by many are not very common nowadays.

However, one published writer from the Norton Sound region will receive a Governor’s Arts and Humanities Award from the State of Alaska.

an award from the State of Alaska. She hopes she will inspire more Alaska Natives to share their words with others.

A long-time advocate for Alaska Native policies Willie Hensley is returning to the classroom this fall. He will teach a course this fall called "Alaska Policy Frontiers" at the University of Alaska Anchorage campus.

I'm Tripp Crouse, and joining me in the studio is Willie Hensley. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Willie Hensley: Good morning. My Inupiaq name is Iġġiaġruk, I was named for my grandfather. The meaning actually happens to be "like a small mountain," otherwise they call me Willie, Willie Hensley.