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First Alaskans Institute Hosts the 2014 Elders & Youth Conference


Anchorage, Alaska – 2014 marks the 30th anniversary year of the statewide First Alaskans Institute Elders & Youth Conference to will take place October 20 – 22, 2014 at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Conference brings together upwards of 2,000 Alaska Native Elders and youth, ages range between 12 to 100, from all Alaska Native cultural groups. Participants discuss current issues that face indigenous peoples, empower their voice and knowledge, and promotes the intergenerational transference of cultural and Native knowledge to grow and strengthen healthy, thriving Native communities. It is an excellent opportunity to engage registrants from across our vast homelands , knowledge and practice of their own cultures in Alaska, learn from others and develop long term relationships, to create and sustain solutions to heal and grow our cultural continuity, and build upon the indigenous distinctiveness that our Ancestors have nurtured through time.

This year’s theme “Get Up! Stand Up!” recognizes and inspires those who have advocated and fought for the advancement of the larger Native community. Plenary session agenda highlights include: an Elder keynote address from Fred John, Jr., a Youth keynote address from Devlin Anderstrom, and a presentation by WNBA All-Star MVP Shoni Schimmel and her parents Rick Schimmel and Ceci Moses.  All keynote addresses will take place on Monday morning, October 20.

Agenda highlights include: workshops across the themes of Culture, Values & Language; Health, Wellness & Safety; Land, Law & Policy; Leadership & Education and others, to create space for deeper connections and learning to happen, and a pop-up workshop strand to be led by conference participants themselves in an organized instantaneous fashion. Cultural knowledge transference will include:  nine language circles to engage participants in immersion and language learning; an Elders Circle and Youth Circle to allow each Circle to talk about Eldership & youth leadership, respectively; and a Men’s House and Women’s House to support interactive, healthy and robust dialogue amongst participants on topics they care about. 

To amplify our arts and culture offerings throughout the Conference, we will be supercharging our offerings in two key areas: our Arts & Opps Showcase will include “IndiGenius” - an arts gallery space, arts learning and creating stations, and artists-in-residence guests and the 3rd Annual “Chin’an: A Night of Cultural Celebration” - our wildly popular evening festival of Native arts and cultures.  “Chin’an” takes place on Monday from 7-9pm at the Dena’ina Center. Tickets are available during the conference at Registration and at the door for $5.

Those not registered are encouraged to watch the conference live on GCI channel 1 which will also be relayed on 360North or online at firstalaskans.org. The Conference program and other information is available online.  Pre-registration closes October 17, and is available in person at the Dena’ina Center on Sunday the 19th from 3-5 p.m., and onsite registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning, October 20.

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