Alaska Natives

Donovan Jackson, 12, of Juneau competes in the one-foot high kick during the 2022 Traditional Games on April 2, 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)

Record number of participants expected for seventh annual Traditional Games

Teams from Alaska, Canada and Lower 48 to compete in 12 Indigenous skills events starting Friday.

Donovan Jackson, 12, of Juneau competes in the one-foot high kick during the 2022 Traditional Games on April 2, 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
In this Sept. 29, 2023, photo at the grave of Lucky Pitka McCormick, her granddaughter Kathleen Carlo, left, and McCormick’s great-great-grandchildren Lucia, center, and Addison Carlo place candles and stones on the grave during a reburial ceremony in Rampart, Alaska. Pitka was one of the Lost Alaskans sent to a mental hospital in the 1930s. Her grave was recently discovered, and family members brought her back to Alaska for a proper burial. (Wally Carlo via AP).

Volunteers uncover fate of thousands of Lost Alaskans sent to Oregon mental hospital a century ago

Lucy Pitka McCormick’s relatives cooked salmon, moose, beaver and muskrat over an earthen firepit on the banks of the Chena River, just outside Fairbanks, as… Continue reading

In this Sept. 29, 2023, photo at the grave of Lucky Pitka McCormick, her granddaughter Kathleen Carlo, left, and McCormick’s great-great-grandchildren Lucia, center, and Addison Carlo place candles and stones on the grave during a reburial ceremony in Rampart, Alaska. Pitka was one of the Lost Alaskans sent to a mental hospital in the 1930s. Her grave was recently discovered, and family members brought her back to Alaska for a proper burial. (Wally Carlo via AP).
Annauk Olin, holding her daugher Tulġuna T’aas Olin, and Rochelle Adams pose on March 20, 2024, after giving a presentation on language at the Alaska Just Transition Summit in Juneau. The two, who work together at the Alaska Public Interest Research Group’s Language Access program, hope to compile an Indigenous environmental glossary. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Project seeks to gather Alaska environmental knowledge embedded in Indigenous languages

In the language of the Gwich’in people of northeastern Alaska, the word for month known in English as July is Łuk choo zhrii, meaning “the… Continue reading

Annauk Olin, holding her daugher Tulġuna T’aas Olin, and Rochelle Adams pose on March 20, 2024, after giving a presentation on language at the Alaska Just Transition Summit in Juneau. The two, who work together at the Alaska Public Interest Research Group’s Language Access program, hope to compile an Indigenous environmental glossary. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Tongass National Forest (Photo by U.S. Forest Service)

New Department of Interior opinion promises to recognize expanded tribal jurisdiction in Alaska

Tribes can exert jurisdiction over allotments granted to individual Natives, opinion states.

Tongass National Forest (Photo by U.S. Forest Service)
Wanda Culp (left) speaks during a rally at the Alaska State Capitol on Saturday, June 22, 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)

Why Alaska Natives like me oppose the landless bill

The 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) has never addressed Native claims. ANCSA is an industrial-rooted tool of Congress, created to exterminate Indigenous land… Continue reading

Wanda Culp (left) speaks during a rally at the Alaska State Capitol on Saturday, June 22, 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
A framed picture of Alaska Native civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich is seen in the lobby outside of Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Friday. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

On Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, Alaska Native leaders teach continuing advocacy

On Feb. 16, 1945, Alaska legislators signed the nation’s first anti-discrimination law. Historical records show that the words of an Alaska Native woman named Elizabeth… Continue reading

A framed picture of Alaska Native civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich is seen in the lobby outside of Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Friday. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Students with the Tlingit Culture, Language and Literacy Program perform a traditional dance during a “community conversation” between local Alaska Native residents and municipal leaders Thursday night at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall to discuss the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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Show and tell: Local Natives highlight cultural education impacts of school district’s budget crisis

Students, teachers say preserving language, other programs vital as officials consider what to cut.

Students with the Tlingit Culture, Language and Literacy Program perform a traditional dance during a “community conversation” between local Alaska Native residents and municipal leaders Thursday night at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall to discuss the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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An image from the cover of the book “Sah Quah.” (Courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute)

Neighbors: SHI publishes book on slavery in Alaska that endured after federal abolishment

Book explores Haida man’s quest for freedom that ended slavery in Alaska

An image from the cover of the book “Sah Quah.” (Courtesy Sealaska Heritage Institute)
A dance group sings in a presentation by the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Native Movement at the state Capitol on Monday. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Public safety commissioner seeks change in Alaska’s missing and murdered Indigenous people response

“We’ve closed our eyes and allowed rural Alaska to be seriously victimized,” Cockrell said.

A dance group sings in a presentation by the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Native Movement at the state Capitol on Monday. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
The Unuk River is one of the transboundary watersheds of Southeast Alaska. (U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center photo)

Southeast Alaska tribes seek Canadian recognition due to transboundary issues

A group of Southeast Alaska tribes is asking Canada to recognize their right to have a voice in how transboundary lands and waters are treated.… Continue reading

The Unuk River is one of the transboundary watersheds of Southeast Alaska. (U.S. Geological Survey Alaska Science Center photo)
From left to right, Robert Hughes (KKCFP), Eric Castro (USFS), Kelsey Dean (SAWC) and Angelo Lerma (KKCFP) pause to assess the placement of a log into Shorty Creek on Kuiu Island. Adding wood to streams helps build salmon habitat, and adds flood-resilient structure to the stream and banks. (Photo by Lee House)

Resilient Peoples and Place: Healing the land together

Collaboration in full swing by tribes, federal and state agencies, local and environmental interests

From left to right, Robert Hughes (KKCFP), Eric Castro (USFS), Kelsey Dean (SAWC) and Angelo Lerma (KKCFP) pause to assess the placement of a log into Shorty Creek on Kuiu Island. Adding wood to streams helps build salmon habitat, and adds flood-resilient structure to the stream and banks. (Photo by Lee House)
Cathy Walling of the Alaska Quaker Friends hugs Jamiann S’eiltin Hasselquist in Kake, while Ati Nasiah of the non-profit Haa Tóoch Lichéesh smiles in the foreground on Jan. 19. (Photo by Shaelene Grace Moler)

Monetary reparations follow Quaker apology to Alaska Native community on Kake Day

An unused U.S. Forest Service building in Kake may soon be a healing center for the community to move forward from generations of trauma after… Continue reading

Cathy Walling of the Alaska Quaker Friends hugs Jamiann S’eiltin Hasselquist in Kake, while Ati Nasiah of the non-profit Haa Tóoch Lichéesh smiles in the foreground on Jan. 19. (Photo by Shaelene Grace Moler)
A view from the library of the Angoon High School, one of Alaska’s public schools, is seen on June 19, 2023. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska board of education sends the plan for tribally run public schools to lawmakers

A report detailing the framework for tribally run public schools will be sent to the legislators and the governor’s office. The intent is that it… Continue reading

A view from the library of the Angoon High School, one of Alaska’s public schools, is seen on June 19, 2023. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Traditional foods, including herring eggs on kelp, dried pike, smoked salmon, seal oil and dried moose meat, prepared for Dillingham community members and supporters of the Smokehouse Collective, an Alaska Native mutual aid network. (Photo by Emily Sullivan/High Country News)

An Alaska Native mutual aid network tackles the climate crisis

Smokehouse Collective invests in “our resilience as Native peoples to persevere in our cultures.”

Traditional foods, including herring eggs on kelp, dried pike, smoked salmon, seal oil and dried moose meat, prepared for Dillingham community members and supporters of the Smokehouse Collective, an Alaska Native mutual aid network. (Photo by Emily Sullivan/High Country News)
The Tlingit Culture, Language and Literacy Dance Group performs for attendees at Goldbelt Inc.’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Goldbelt celebrates 50th anniversary with tributes, prayer, dancing and hopes for future

Leaders of local Alaska Native Regional Corporation looking ahead generations rather than years.

The Tlingit Culture, Language and Literacy Dance Group performs for attendees at Goldbelt Inc.’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Charles Skultka Jr. teaches formline design during a Sitka High School class supported by the Sitka Native Education Program and Sealaska Heritage Institute. (Photo by Bethany Goodrich)

Resilient Peoples and Place: Celebrating and supporting Southeast Alaska’s growing arts economy

Thousands of artists, tens of millions of dollars annually, generations of passing on traditions.

Charles Skultka Jr. teaches formline design during a Sitka High School class supported by the Sitka Native Education Program and Sealaska Heritage Institute. (Photo by Bethany Goodrich)
Doug Chilton works on a canoe journey carving at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in February of 2016. (Courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)

Longtime Tlingit artist and activist Doug Chilton closing his shop Dec. 24, heading south

Juneau-born resident plans to return for One People Canoe Society trips he founded, other events.

Doug Chilton works on a canoe journey carving at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in February of 2016. (Courtesy of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska)
An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Plan for Alaska’s first tribally operated public schools inches closer to completion

Tlingit and Haida among five tribes slated to be part of the five-year pilot program.

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
Candace Frank gets a red handprint pressed onto her face at the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Rally in Juneau on May 5, 2022. (Lisa Phu / Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Native leaders bring light to state-specific challenges in federal MMIP report

Alaska is the only state with its own chapter in a report on missing and murdered Indigenous people that describes a failure of the federal… Continue reading

Candace Frank gets a red handprint pressed onto her face at the Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Rally in Juneau on May 5, 2022. (Lisa Phu / Alaska Beacon)
The Southeast Alaska village of Metlakatla. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)

Biden administration could wade into lawsuit over Southeast Alaska tribal fishing rights

The Biden administration could jump into a high-profile lawsuit involving a Southeast Alaska Native community that’s fighting with GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration about its… Continue reading

The Southeast Alaska village of Metlakatla. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)