Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Alaskan Heritage Celebration

I’m researching the Inuit / Eskimo / Yup’ik mask my Mother bought lo, these many many moons ago, and like anyone born to research, I am hopelessly lost, and enjoying every minute of the journey.


I’m not Alaskan. I was born in Alaska, and so many times through the years when I see blocks that need ticking, I have been tempted to tick “native Alaskan” but I know that they don’t mean me, and that there are people who really deserve those preferences. I FEEL Alaskan, even though I’ve been gone a long time.

(My Mother used to tell us not to play with the “natives” because “they had knives!” (Big scary eyes). LLLOOOLLLL! Can you think of any quicker way to get your kids to play with the forbidden group? They had knives! Plus, they were our neighbors, and our classmates, and we all played together. Skied together. Played Cowboys and . . . Indians. Yes! We did! LLOOOLLL!)

I found this fabulous video of segments from the “Celebration 2010” There is a reason I am sharing this – first, for all my friends of all nations who love textiles and handwork as I do – and our name is legion – I want you to see this video and to see the magnificant ceremonial robes they are wearing. They have to be hand made; they are each so individual, even among people of the same clan, the bear is different, one from the other, the fish – different, the raven – fabulously different, I even saw a sun! I hope your heart goes pitter patter, just as mine is going.

I wish I could bring this entire celebration to Kuwait and do a presentation with the KTAA (Kuwait Textile Arts Association.) They would LOVE these crafts, and the dancing. Look at the wonderful drums!

Second – did you hear them ululate? This is what I love about my travels; no matter what our differences, we have some amazing similarities.

Celebration, a First Nation heritage event taking place in Juneau, Alaska, originated and was sponsored in 1982 by Sealaska. The gathering takes place every other year and is the biggest event for Native Americans in Alaska for Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian peoples.

To me, the coolest thing of all is that this is not done for tourists, but for the First Nation peoples, to transmit their culture to their children, and to celebrate themselves. This second video focuses on the clans and their special dances:

Now here is the exciting thing. It only happens every two years. This year it will take place June 6 – June 9. Here’s the information:

Celebration Native Cultural Conference
June 06, 2012 to June 09, 2012
A biennial Native cultural celebration featuring colorful costumed processions, dance performances, authentic arts and crafts and gatherings. Held in various venues including Centennial Hall Convention Center.

We already have plans for this June (I’ll share more about that later) but I talked to AdventureMan and said I really, really want to go in 2014. He said (are you sitting down?) “That’s just the kind of thing I LOVE! We’ve been planning to go to Alaska anyway, let’s go for that celebration!”

And that is why, after all these years of being married, I still adore my husband. He is a man with a heart for Adventure, and he gets all excited about the same things I do, well, some of the time. There was a falcon fest once in Tunisia that he dragged his feet on because he had just gotten in from a long trip, but once we got there, we all agreed it was one of those things that we would have regretted forever if we missed it. He is always up for a new adventure!


See you there?

May 19, 2012 - Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Biography, Community, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Education, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Heritage, Humor, Kuwait, Relationships, Social Issues, Travel


  1. Sounds like a great adventure you’re planning. And I hope you fill us in when you learn more about the mask!

    Comment by rumpydog | May 19, 2012 | Reply

  2. We’re excited! Actually, we have another adventure coming up soon; the Alaska adventure will give us something to focus on when our next great adventure is completed.

    Comment by intlxpatr | May 19, 2012 | Reply

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