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For Immediate Release

June 4, 2019
Contact: Karla Gatgyedm Hanaax Booth, [email protected], (907) 677-1700




Anchorage, Alaska – First Alaskans Institute’s 36th Annual Elders & Youth Conference (Elders & Youth) theme, “Qaneryararput Yugtun Piniqerput”(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. 

This year’s conference will begin 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 will take 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 will be 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 will be held on Monday, October 14 featuring the incredible talents of our community members and dance groups who step up to share their gifts.

Our open call for proposals seeks dynamic presenters to tie the theme and purpose of Elders & Youth into inspiring workshops with active participation. We prioritize presenters who are open to collaboration as we work to craft an indigenized, thoughtful and exciting agenda. Our call for proposals will close on Friday, July 19.

Alaska Native language teachers, artists and culture bearers are encouraged to apply to share their knowledge during our Living & Loving Our Cultures workshops. Dance groups and performers are invited to apply to perform during Elders & Youth and Chin’an. Our calls for Alaska Native language teachers, artists, culture bearers, dance groups and performers are open until filled.

The early bird registration deadline is Friday, October 4 with full price registration continuing on through the Elders & Youth Conference. In response to past Elders & Youth resolutions and because many school districts value the rich learning experience of the conference, some do not count student attendance to Elders & Youth as an absence from school, contact your local school district to find out their policy. Registration is also available for the Community Hall where artists sell their work, organizations highlight opportunities and political candidates and entities share information.

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!

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About First Alaskans Institute (FAI):  At FAI weknow we are responsible for carrying more than 10,000 years of ancestral knowledge into the future with rigor, humor, resilience, vigilance, and love. To learn more visit our website at www.firstalaskans.org, contact us at 907-677-1700 or email [email protected]

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