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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Alutiiq Dance History Project Funded
by Brian Fraley - Alutiiq Museum

A 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 group."

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.

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