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For Immediate Release 
November 1, 2021
Contact: Silugngataanit’sqaq Melissa Marton, [email protected], (907) 677-1710


Dgheyey Kaq’; Dena’inaq ełnen’aq’ qilan (Anchorage, Alaska; lands of the Dena’ina) – First Alaskans Institute (FAI) invites you to the 10th Annual Howard Rock & Ted Stevens Smokehouse Gala to be held in the unceded virtual space of our Alaska Native peoples! In this virtually reimagined space, we will host a variety of events leading up to the premier night on Saturday, November 20, 2021. By going virtual, we are centering the safety and wellbeing of our all of our celebrants during this pandemic and by doing so we increase access for the event.  We will also use this opportunity to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).  

Named in recognition of Howard Rock (Iñupiaq) and the late Senator Ted Stevens, the Smokehouse Gala celebrates the significant contributions of Alaska Native peoples and our friends in advancing our collective wellbeing, and honors the critical role that being good relatives to one another plays in making Alaska a special place. Join with us to honor the incredible peoples who have shaped our current realties and will shape what is to come.  We will share and celebrate this legacy through events and speakers leading up to and during the gala. “Being able to honor our community, our peoples, cultures, communities and friends, and this landmark legislation, while raising critical funds to support our organizations work, is a great privilege.” La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow, President/CEO, First Alaskans Institute.

The event happens each year during Native Heritage Month, designed to create and amplify a forum for the celebration and sharing of our true narratives, to highlight our diverse peoples and communities, and help create a way for our fellow Alaskans to better know and be in relationship with Native peoples.  This year we will honor our Awardees, feature our ways of life in action, host online auctions, have contests and raffles, and have special guests on ANCSA @ 50. By going virtual, we can engage more peoples across Alaska and the country in a variety of culturally shaped activities, that draw upon our peoples’ inherent humor, storytelling, engagement in critical policy issues, and creativity while also lifting up and celebrating those who stand with us in our constant effort to advance our Native peoples. 

Sponsorship opportunities exist for organizations and individuals to help support the Gala and the work of First Alaskans Institute.  Packages have been created to support this effort and to honor the leaders and efforts who shaped the past 50 years of ANCSA. Honoring is both a remembrance and a thank you to those who fought to hold onto our homelands. Many hands helped shape the legacy of what ANCSA is and will become and this is important to recognize. For sponsorship opportunities, please click here. For more information and to follow all of the Smokehouse Gala events, click here or please contact [email protected].

Alaska is and always has been a Native place, and we know the world needs us – now more than ever. The balm of Indigenous knowledge, wisdom, and ways of life is a light in troubled times. Being a part of a collective and responsible community is not only who we are and have always been, but it is also how we survive and thrive. We are humbled and honored to press ahead as our Ancestors always have and celebrate this each and every year during the Howard Rock & Ted Stevens Smokehouse Gala. 

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About First Alaskans Institute (FAI):  At FAI we know 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]

Download a PDF version of this release.

Learn more about the 2021 Smokehouse Gala.