Janen: August 27th
Saturday, August 27th will be the second annual Janen celebration. This small festival hosted by myself, the Ninilchik Tribe, and our partners in the Ways of Knowing: Niqnalchintnu ecological research project. Last year our partners at the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust and us started a new tradition in honor of our peoples' connection to Niqnalchintnu, the Ninilchik River, as its role of a lifegiving groundwater fed river whose importance has been so vital to our people that it is what our people were named for. This program combines traditional ecological research and monitoring of groundwater hydrology, botany, and riverine biology, with cultural community based research perspectives from the river system's drainage area residents and indigenous population. After a series of new groundwork this summer, we will meet again where the river meets the town of Ninilchik proper to celebrate our connection to the waters and lands, inspired by ancient traditions of respecting dnayi, quasi-spirits connected to natural features in historic Dena'ina spiritual tradition. More updates on this event will be posted later this summer.
Tuyanitun: Tuggeht: September 24th
Saturday September 24th has been marked as the installation ceremony date of my monument Tuyanitun: Tuggeht at Bishop's Beach in Homer, Alaska. This day will mark the culmination of the three years of prep work that originated even beyond my involvement and design proposal, as it was the directorship of the Bunnell Street Arts Center who started an inquiry and campaign for the City of Homer to install a public work of art that connected the region's ancient past to its contemporary indigenous people. This demonstration of embracing a vision imbued with that level of importance inspired this design, whose creation is being generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Performance Network, the Ninilchik Traditional Council, the City of Homer, and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council Inc., and is being cast and constructed by Midton Acrylics, Collision Experts, and the City of Homer's Parks officials. The installation ceremony will be hosted by BSAC organizers and leaders of the Ninilchik Tribe, who have blessed the creation and installation of this monument before its production. It will also be a day of joy, as it is my intention to inspire senses of wonder and positivity through this piece, and to celebrate the conceptual crossroads of where the ideals and aspirations of my nation harmonize with those of the people who have chosen to make this land their new home. Details about the public event program will be published as the event date approaches.