Reimagined and culturally-enriched virtual environment
“We Are Making a Good Path”
First Alaskans Institute’s 37th Annual Statewide Elders & Youth Conference (Elders & Youth) theme, “Asirqamek Apruciluta” (Sugt’stun, Chugach), “Asisqamek Aprut’liluta” (Alutiiq) assures us that we are moving in the right direction – physically in our real world today and symbolically in life. Its translation into English is “We Are Making a Good Path.” This theme exemplifies our ancestral responsibilities to protect and advance our peoples and communities, including through this time of COVID-19 and the racial justice transformation that is happening right now as well.
From the beginning of this current pandemic, our Elders have informed the critical decision-making of Tribes, communities, families, and individuals by sharing the brilliance of our peoples’ ways of persevering and thriving throughout history. This theme amplifies a simple truth – we are still here and we are moving forward by protecting our ways of life, celebrating our cultures and our diversity, challenging injustice, and strengthening the many beautiful ways we are good relatives to one another. To select this year’s language following our new tradition started three years ago, at the conclusion of Elders & Youth last year we drew from a basket the language of the Sugpiaq peoples: Sugt’stun/Alutiiq, which includes both Chugach and Koniag dialects. We thank our language leaders, Candace Branson and Sperry Ash, for helping us arrive at this profound theme grown from the guidance of our Statewide Elders & Youth Council, of seeing the path we are part of and believing in ourselves.
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Additional Conference Highlights
This year’s Elders & Youth will begin on Sunday, October 11 and close out on Wednesday, October 14 in a reimagined and culturally-enriched virtual environment. This will keep our peoples safe while also increasing access for those who have not yet had a chance to participate. Elders & Youth provides a special opportunity to celebrate our Alaska Native peoples, make connections, reinforce identity and belonging, engage in cultural practices and languages, identify issues and priorities of our communities, explore art and our creative worlds, strengthen our collective advocacy, and contribute to the greater community through the transference of knowledge between our generations. In short, we put the power of our cultures in the center and wrap our Elders, youth, and other participants in the precious collective love and nurturing environment they deserve.
On Sunday, October 11, Indigenous Elders and healers from throughout the state will share blessings and stories that will center us and excite our spirit for the following days during our Warming of the Hands gathering. On Monday, October 12, we will celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day and hear from our Elder keynote. On Tuesday, we will hear from our youth keynote. On Monday-Wednesday we will hear from other presenters, as well as participate in Community Engagement workshops, Language Circles, Men’s, Women’s, & LGBTQIA2+ Houses, regional-based gatherings, and hands-on Living & Loving our Cultures Workshops. We will also feature the Best of Chin’an: A Night of Cultural Celebration, which will include cultural performances over the last ten years and our version of Natives Got Talent to highlight the talents of our participants who step up to share their gifts.
Quyanaakcak/Quyanaasinaq in Sugt’stun/Alutiiq to our 2020 Statewide Elders & Youth Council and other members of our community whose thoughtful contributions and ideas guide us each year to a memorable conference. We thank each of our Council members, their regions, and their families for the time they spent with us this year, without whom it would not have been possible:
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.
37th Annual Elders & Youth Conference Sponsors
Teacher Level – $2,500 – $4,999
Alaska Children’s Trust
Chugach Alaska Corporation,
Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.
Youth Level – $250 – $2,499
Talking Circle Media
Quyanaa to The CIRI Foundation – Journey To What Matters and the Alaska Native Heritage Center for supporting our Living & Loving Our Cultures Workshops.
Quyanaa to our 2020 Elders & Youth Conference sponsors!
We look forward to seeing you all virtually this October!