Morgan Blackgoat, a student at Thunder Mountain High School and intern for Juneau Public Libraries, speaks at a Native Culture Festival Saturday that she organized. Blackgoat is of Navajo descent, but her mother works for Tlingit & Haida, and Blackgoat said she hoped the event could bring the community together. The festival served as a culmination of Blackgoat’s internship and featured dancing, song, stories and food. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Morgan Blackgoat, a student at Thunder Mountain High School and intern for Juneau Public Libraries, speaks at a Native Culture Festival Saturday that she organized. Blackgoat is of Navajo descent, but her mother works for Tlingit & Haida, and Blackgoat said she hoped the event could bring the community together. The festival served as a culmination of Blackgoat’s internship and featured dancing, song, stories and food. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Library intern organizes Native culture fest

Singing, dancing, fry bread and more at Douglas Public Library

The Douglas Public library wasn’t quiet Saturday.

The sounds of drums, singing and dancing from the Woosh.ji.een Dance Group echoed out from the library’s meeting room.

The performance was part of an Alaska Native Culture festival organized by Morgan Blackgoat, a student at Thunder Mountain High School and Inclusive Internship Initiative intern for Juneau Public Libraries.

“I was just hoping to bring people together in the community,” Blackgoat said.

In addition to dancing, the event featured Native stories, figures of significant figures hidden throughout the library, an online quiz and fry bread.

Blackgoat said she’s enjoyed her time as an intern, and it’s taught her about how involved libraries are in their communities as well as the work that goes into coordinating an event.

The internship opportunity was brought to Blackgoat’s attention by a school newsletter, and Blackgoat has had multiple relatives work for the library, so it sounded appealing.

“I really wanted to get into that family heritage of working in the library,” Blackgoat said

The internship was provided for by a grant from the American Library Association and is part of a nationwide program.

“It’s been a tremendous gift to us,” said MJ Grande, youth services librarian for Juneau Public Libraries.“She worked with us this summer. She’s been quite self-directed in her projects. She really assisted us tremendously.”

The culture festival was a culmination of Blackgoat’s internship, which started with a meeting in Washington D.C. and will wrap up at the end of the month with presentations in Chicago.

“I am excited,” Blackgoat said. “I get to hear what everyone across the country has done.”

Martin “Junior” Stepetin Jr., Evan Elton and Shaunde Ahshapanek, young members of the Woosh.ji.een Dance Group dance during a Native Culture Festival Saturday at Douglas Public Library. Older members of the group explained the significance of their regalia to a crowd gathered at the library for the festival. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Martin “Junior” Stepetin Jr., Evan Elton and Shaunde Ahshapanek, young members of the Woosh.ji.een Dance Group dance during a Native Culture Festival Saturday at Douglas Public Library. Older members of the group explained the significance of their regalia to a crowd gathered at the library for the festival. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

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