Many Alaska Native gravesites in Juneau are overgrown and all but forgotten. Tlingit storyteller and cemetery caretaker Bob Sam hopes to change that. He led a tour through Juneau’s cemeteries during the Sharing Our Knowledge conference in September to raise awareness and respect for the graves and the ancestors buried in them.

Kids across the country are embracing the new animated show “Molly of Denali” that launched this summer on PBS.

It is the first children’s TV show with an Alaska Native lead character. Now some young fans want to dress like their hero Molly for Halloween.

The show’s producers want kids to have fun — but not co-opt Molly’s Athabascan culture.

‘Devilfish’ playwright’s favorite audience? Eighth-graders

Oct 24, 2019

Eighth-graders in Juneau had a day at the theater this month to watch “Devilfish,” a play that tells the story of a young Tlingit girl struggling with grief and new responsibility. After the performances, cast and crew visited middle schools to answer questions and share a few tricks of the trade.

Addressing the widespread use of violence against Alaska Native women was one of the dominating topics at the 2019 Alaska Federation of Natives convention. But this year, there was also a call, echoed from elders all the way up to U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, for men to step up and do better.

Some young men shared what they learned from a talking circle during this year’s Elders and Youth conference.

Dunleavy promises to work with Alaska Tribes over education

Oct 22, 2019

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced that he will propose legislation that recognizes tribal authority over education in their communities. He made the announcement last week at the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention in Fairbanks. 

Sandra Kowalski, an Inupiaq from Kotzebue and Buckland, sits on the Alaska State Board of Education. She says that this announcement is just the first step.

Calista board chooses CIRI exec over Ana Hoffman In AFN co-chair vote

Oct 22, 2019

Bethel Native Corporation CEO Ana Hoffman has again been elected co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives during the final day of its annual convention Oct. 19. Hoffman has served as co-chair since 2013, but the board of the Calista Corporation, the regional native corporation for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, cast their vote for another candidate.

NOAA, Savoonga track Pacific cod during collaboration

Oct 22, 2019

Researchers and Western Alaskans alike want to know more about Pacific cod’s movements as they swim from the Southern Bering Sea into the Northern. In a unique collaboration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries worked with fishermen in Savoonga to tag and track cod within the drastically changing Bering Sea ecosystem.

At the 2019 Elders and Youth Conference, the running theme is “Language is Our Superpower." The elder keynote speaker Sally Tugidm Ayagaa Swetzof (Unangax̂) talked about the importance of keeping Unangam Tunuu alive.

Swetzof was born before Alaska gained statehood. Growing up in Atka, Unangam Tunuu was her first language.

“It wsa the language always spoken at home and in the village when I was growing up,” she said from the mainstage. “Nobody spoke English unless they were talking to the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) teachers or some other non-speakers.”

In Interior Alaska, Athabascan fiddle music is a staple at social gatherings. At the 2019 Elders and Youth conference, elders taught young people how to dance the signature style – called jigging. Gwich'in fiddle player Jerry Frank originally learned to play the guitar, but when older fiddle players passed on – he took up the instrument that’s a signature of Athabascan jigging – a style of square-dancing folk music.

Biologists say early retreating sea ice is potentially causing vegetation productivity changes on the tundra across Alaska and the Arctic

Uma Bhatt, a climate variability expert with the University of Alaska–Fairbanks, says the land warms up more quickly when sea ice recedes earlier than usual.