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FAI Celebrates Native Heritage Month With The Howard Rock & Ted Stevens Smokehouse Gala


Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 14, 2013 – Following an incredible Elders & Youth Conference this year, First Alaskans Institute (FAI) is pleased to host the second annual Howard Rock & Ted Stevens Smokehouse Gala, a uniquely indigenous event that honors Alaska Native peoples, cultures and friends during Alaska Native and American Indian Heritage Month. FAI’s signature event, named in honor of two of our greatest Alaskans – Howard Rock (Iñupiaq) and Ted Stevens – and titled for the smokehouse, a shared symbol of the importance of our Native ways of life, will be held at the Hotel Captain Cook on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. 

Rock was both editor and publisher of the Tundra Times, a critical forum for Native perspectives in Alaska that served to inform and connect Natives and non-Natives alike, most notably during the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in Washington, D.C. in the early 1970s. Sen. Stevens was one of the longest-serving senators in U.S. history and spent much of his career as an advocate for Alaska Native peoples. In recognition of their incredible service to all Alaskans, both Rock and Stevens were honored as Alaskan of the Year in 1974.

“FAI named the Gala after Howard Rock and Ted Stevens because of their commitment to Alaska Natives and because they are symbols of what it takes for us to work together to advance our peoples,” said Elizabeth Medicine Crow (Haida/Tlingit), FAI President/CEO. “I can think of no better way to celebrate Alaska Native and American Indian Heritage Month than to celebrate our amazing contributions as the first peoples of Alaska and to recognize those who have stood beside us. We are especially thankful to the Rock and Stevens families for standing beside us in this important endeavor.”

The Gala will feature the Smokehouse Awards to honor those who work to help Native peoples and communities with significant and profound purpose, a four-course, indigenized dinner, live performances and various activities to raise funds to support the work of FAI. Gala tables may be purchased at thesmokehousegala.org or by calling (907) 677-1700, and auction items and volunteers are still being accepted.

Proceeds from the event benefit FAI, a statewide nonprofit that serves as a catalyst for conversation, convener of minds and cross-sector collaborator on issues impacting Alaska Native peoples and communities. FAI’s work touches more than 250 summer interns and fellowship alumni, an average of 1,100 registrants per year in our annual Elders & Youth Conference and well over 2,000 people in FAI-hosted dialogues on varying issues. It includes a Community Investment program that has shared more than a million dollars with Native communities and our First Alaskans magazine with an estimated readership of 33,000 across the world. FAI works to advance and empower Alaska Native peoples for the next 10,000 years in partnership with our community and supporters.


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