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“LANGUAGE IS OUR SUPERPOWER”
First Alaskans Institute’s 36th Annual Elders & Youth Conference (Elders & Youth) theme, “Qaneryararput Yugtun Riniqerput”(Yugtun), ”Qaneryararput Cugtun Kayuqerput” (Cugtun) celebrates the beauty, importance and diversity of our Alaska Native languages. Its closest loose translation into English is “language is our superpower.” To learn, live, and speak our languages every day, a direct tie to our Ancestors and the living personification of our beautiful lands of Alaska, brings us both backwards and forwards in time! As indigenous peoples alive today, we get to be part of the generations who keep the fires of our languages alive, and that makes us stronger. To uphold this responsibility, First Alaskans committed to using a different Alaska Native language each year throughout the conference. To randomly select this year’s language, we drew from a basket the languages of the Yup’ik and Cup’ik peoples and their languages are called Yugtun and Cugtun, respectively.
The Elders & Youth theme, “Qaneryararput Yugtun Riniqerput/Qaneryararput Cugtun Kayuqerput,” fluidly translates to “Language is Our Super Power”, and honors how we are stronger with our languages. When spoken, they connect us to our Ancestors, our lands, waters and animals, provide healing, and instruct us in living our ways of life. Our languages reside within us and we are responsible for putting them to use for a stronger future; upholding this responsibility, First Alaskans will choose a different Alaska Native language each year to highlight with our theme. This year, we selected the Yugtun and Cugtun languages, spoken by Yup’ik and Cup’ik peoples of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta region.
The 2019 Elders & Youth began with a Warming of the Hands gathering on Sunday, October 13 with the main conference kicking off on Indigenous Peoples Day, October 14 closing out by the afternoon of October 16. The conference took place at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska. Elders & Youth provides a special opportunity to celebrate our Alaska Native peoples, make connections, reinforce identity and belonging, engage in cultural practices and languages, explore art and issues, strengthen our collective advocacy, and contribute to the greater community through the transference of knowledge between our generations.
The Warming of the Hands gathering was held on Sunday, October 13, featuring Men’s, Women’s, and LGBTQA+/Two Spirit Houses and regional breakout sessions. Chin’an: A Night of Cultural Celebration was held on Monday, October 14 featuring the incredible talents of our community members and dance groups who step up to share their gifts.
Here are the resolutions that passed at the 2019 Elders & Youth.
Quyana cakneq to our 2019 Statewide Elders & Youth Council and other members of our community whose thoughtful contributions and ideas guide us each year to a memorable conference. We look forward to seeing you in Fairbanks this October!
With support from the community each year, we connect youth participants with each other, experienced leaders, and Elders to strengthen their voices as advocates for positive change. Elders & Youth helps to increase pride and knowledge-sharing through celebration of our Native peoples, communities, and cultures, and also helps increase the level of community partnerships across Alaska.
36th Annual Elders & Youth Conference Sponsors
Teacher Level – $2,500 – $4,999
Alaska Children’s Trust
Alaska Universal Productions, Inc.
Chugach Alaska Corporation
Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.
Mats-Su Health Foundation
Old Harbor Native Corporation
Youth Level – $250 – $2,499
Alaska Pacific University
Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
Talking Circle Media
United Brotherhood of Carpenters
Quyana to The CIRI Foundation for partnering to support the Living & Loving Our Cultures workshops.
Xasagidaghisdhoot to the RurAL CAP Foundation for your partnership.
Quyana cakneq to our
2019 Elders & Youth Conference sponsors!