grant from the Alaska State Museum will help the Alutiiq Museum
preserve a piece of recent Kodiak history, the revitalization of
Alutiiq dance. Thirty years ago, members of the Kodiak Alutiiq community
began researching Alutiiq dance, with the goal of creating the first
traditional dancers in a century. Elders' knowledge, ethnographic
research, and assistance from Yup'ik dancer Chuna McIntyre helped
them to form the Cuumillat'stun Alutiiq dance group. Three decades
later, performances by the group continue to inspire a new generation
of Alutiiq dancers, island-wide.
The $7,572.77 Grant-in-Aid will help the Alutiiq Museum develop
an archive of photos, documents, and videotaped interviews recording
the activities of the Cuumillat'stun dancers. These materials will
be gathered from community members, organized and inventoried to
create a museum collection, and then used in the production of a
short educational film on the dance group. The project, which begins
this month, will be completed by May 2015 with help from local scholar
Tonya Heitman and videographer Alf Pryor.
"The materials that document the revival of our dance traditions
are spread around the Kodiak community, with people and organizations.
This project will gather them into one place and document the important
work of a team of our culture bearers," said Alutiiq Museum Executive
Director Dr. Alisha Drabek.
"We are particularly grateful to the Sun'aq Tribe for sharing
their files. They have been the home of the dancers for many years.
We also hope that people who have photos, documents, regalia, or
other information about the group will contact us. We will interview
original members of the Cuumillat'stun group, but we know there
are many others in our community who share in the history of this
The Alutiiq Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to
preserving and sharing the cultural traditions of the Alutiiq, an
Alaska Native tribal people. Representatives of Kodiak Alutiiq organizations
govern the museum with funding from charitable contributions, memberships,
grants, contracts, and sales.