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For Immediate Release                                                                                           [email protected]
October 5, 2016                                                                                                                      907.677.1700       


ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The 33rd annual statewide First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference will take place October 17-19, 2016 at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, Alaska, with a special Warming of the Hands pre-session on Sunday, October 16th. This one-of-a-kind convening works to lift up the faces of our peoples while connecting our youth to our Elders. We engage in critical dialogues on issues to encourage positive change within our Alaska Native community while building relationships, strengthening our knowledge and celebrating our cultures.

Our 2016 Conference theme “ANCESTRAL IMPERATIVE: Adapt. Unite. Achieve.” is a call to action and our keynote speakers exemplify the heart of what this means.  We are so excited and proud to announce the following speakers for the conference:












Elder Keynotes: Our 2016 Elder Keynotes will be Mr. and Mrs. Raphael and Vivian Jimmy (Yup’ik) of Mountain Village on Tuesday, October 18th. Raphael and Vivian Jimmy love to celebrate and share their Yup’ik culture through singing and drumming, and leading their Anchorage dance group Kuigpagmiut Dance Group.

Youth Keynote: Our 2016 Youth keynote will be Ms. Joan Inga Barnowsky (Sugpiaq) of Old Harbor on Monday, October 17th. Joan is in the 6th grade and is homeschooled in her home community. She loves Alutiiq dancing, and volunteering for her home community.

New Conference Feature: Warming of the Hands Pre-session and Reception: We invite all conference participants to join us at 12:00pm on Sunday, October 16th at the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center (101 Dunkel St., Fairbanks, AK 99701) to kick off this year’s Elders & Youth Conference.  This opportunity allows us to not only come together and build community going into the conference, but it also creates more time for us to deepen the dialogues and connections we have with one another through our Men’s and Women’s Houses as well as making more time for Regional Breakouts.  This expansion of time is in response to the wonderful feedback provided by past conference attendees that they need and want more time together. We’ll close out the day with a Warming of the Hands Reception.

Agenda highlights include: cultural performances from some of our beautiful Native dance groups; Men’s and Women’s Houses to encourage healthy relationships and our roles to sustain them; hands on work sessions to promote our Ancestral Imperative to live our ways of life and strengthen the knowledge and identity we have as Native peoples to be solution-focused on the challenges of our time, followed by topical and issue-based workshop tracks themed in Culture, Values & Language, Health, Wellness & Safety, Land, Law & Policy, Leadership & Education and others, to create space for deeper connections and transference of knowledge. Our 5th Annual Chin’an Cultural Celebration will take place on Monday evening from 7-9:30pm at the Carlson Center – all are welcome and invited! Tickets are available during the conference at Registration and at the door for $5.

Broadcast & Webcast

Those not able to attend in person are invited to watch the conference live on GCI channel 907, 360North, ARCS and on the web via our website: www.firstalaskans.org. Registration is available online until October 17th and onsite registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Monday, October 17th at the Carlson Center. The registration fee is $45.00 for youth, chaperones, and other adult participants, while the fee is waived for Elders.

FAI is a statewide nonprofit organization whose purpose is to advance Alaska Natives. The Elders & Youth Conference is made possible through the generous sponsorship of organizations and businesses across the state.. Further conference information, the full agenda and complete sponsor listing are also available online at www.firstalaskans.org.


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2016 Elders & Youth Conference Keynotes and Agenda Highlights Press Release (pdf)