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Seeing Tikigaq Through Uncle Hank-O's Snow Goggles

     This documentary is about an Inuit artist, Henry Koonook, carving a tranditional hunting tool - Snow Goggles. He misses the peaceful past that Point Hope used to be, and carving reminds him of it.


Make your own Eskimo ice cream.

Extreme coorespondent Tony Pacheco visited a Akutaq-making workshop at the Festival of Native Arts where volunteer Kelsey Wallace demonstrates her Alaska style homemade "ice cream" process.


Filmmaker Anderson Q&A

The first thing you notice about Marina Anderson is her bold, bright, red hair.  You would never know that she’s part Haida, Tlingit, and Jewish.  The young filmmaker from Prince of Whales Island currently resides in Fairbanks while pursuing a major in Alaska Native studies.  At 18 years old Anderson presented her first short film titled, “Reawakening the Past,” during the Deana film festival. The short film focuses on the Haida culture and their totem pool traditions.  This is an expert from my interview with the young filmmaker.

Q:  Why is important for the Festival of Native Arts to present Alaskan native films?

A:    It’s important especially to show the films when they are created by Alaskan Native filmmakers, because it shows it from their perspective.  People can live in a Haida village, or live in a Tlingit village, or Athabaskan village and know a lot about what its like to be Athabaskan or Tlingit, but your never going to really know unless you are a native Alaskan.  People aren’t going to know exactly what’s it like by watching the films, but at least they’re going to get the real point of view.  Because they’re going to what it is through our eyes, because that’s what we see.

Q: Have you seen On the Ice, a film directed by Alaskan Native Andrew MacLean? 

A:  No, but I met Andrew and spoke with him about it and I really want to go see it.

Q:  As a young filmmaker how does MacLean’s success inspire you?

A:  It’s good to see that there’s hope for people; native Alaskans who are investing, so much time and money into their projects.

Q:  Do you think that there will be a second annual Deana film festival?

A:   We’re hoping next year to make it a film festival for the 40th annual festival.  Where people can submit they’re films, we can judge them, and they can win awards.  That’s what it really comes down too, getting people names out there and helping indigenous filmmakers in Alaska.


New film highlights modern issues

Stepping into the vast halls of the University of Alaska Museum of the North, I was anxious to get my first glimpse of Greenland.Movie poster for Inuk

The 2012 Festival of Native Arts was about to show Inuk, considered the first film about modern Greenland. It was the opening film to the Denaa Film Celebration, the festival’s first ever film festival, which continued on Saturday.

Surprising, then, that I walked into the museum’s auditorium to find it a lot smaller than what I originally expected.

The room, rectangular in shape and holding seats for no more than one hundred people, was around a third full by the time I took my seat.

Around sixty people, many of whom were foreigners themselves, were seated when UAF student Naaqtuuq Dommek, one of this year’s festival organizers, took the floor to introduce the film.

Maya Salganek, a UAF film professor, Skyped with the film’s co-writer, Jean-Michel Huctin. Huctin, an anthropology professor at the International University of Paris, was excited that the film had achieved the success it had.

After the introductions, the film finally started.

The film itself was quite the surprise. It told a familiar story, but in such a refreshing, involving way.

The plot revolves around a teenager, Inuk, who moves into a foster home away from his alcoholic mother, and his journey towards self-realization. Aviaaja is the foster children’s guardian, and also the film’s narrator.

From a technical standpoint, co-writer/director Mike Magidson did an excellent job of bringing the viewer inside the character’s world.  Not only was I caught up in the characters’ struggles with each other, but also in Greenland’s shifting cultural struggle.

"The film talks about their clash that has been because of introducing contemporary things," Dommek said after the film's end.

One of the film’s strengths was the way Magidson included so much subtext about the native people without it ever being distracting. The film was shot on location, using kids and townsfolk from the actual foster home and village the story is set.

Gaba Petersen, who played the title character Inuk, says a lot without saying much. In fact, the same can be said of all the actors.

Perhaps Inupiat people share that trait, but the film’s characters seem to say more in their physical gestures than in their words.

The film was a great beginning to what may become another addition to a long list of arts showcasing native culture.

Like Aviaaja said in the film, there are many different words for ice.


Inu-Yupiaq starts off Festival of Native Arts

UAF Inu-Yupiaq Dance group     The Inu-Yupiaq dance group kicked off the start of the 39th annual Festival of Native Arts to a crowded auditorium Thursday night at the Davis Concert Hall. 

Group members wore matching blue kuspuks and many wore traditional fur mukluks. Men are the drummer, singers and dancers. While dancing, they stomped one foot while women bent their knees and gently bounced up and down. Women only sing and dance in the group. 

 The group performed dances that originated from all over the state. The first dance performed was a prayer song that was dedicated to all of the professors, students, and alumni that have died within the year. The song was performed more than once, as were all the dances. “We dance the songs at least twice because in Inupiaq, everything is done in twos. Everything has two legs on it and it needs support,” said group member Naaqtuuq. 


Live! The Festival of the Native Arts

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will host the 39th annual Festival of Native Arts March 1-3 in the Charles Davis Concert Hall, William R. Wood Center and Schaible Auditorium. Festivities will take place Thursday and Friday from 6:30 – 10 p.m. and Saturday from 5 – 10 p.m. The Denaa Film Celebration will run Saturday from 1– 5 p.m. in Schaible Auditorium. Daytime dance, storytelling, language and craft workshops will be offered Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Wood Center. Twenty-two Native performance groups and more than two dozen artisans are expected to participate this year. Audience members are encouraged to arrive early to dance events, as seating is limited. All events are free and open to the public. Evening activities will be available to view streaming online at http://fna.community.uaf.edu. Native students and Student Orientation Services at UAF established the Fairbanks Festival of Native Arts in 1973. Originally, the festival focused each night on a specific Alaska Native culture. Today, it has grown in its depth and focus, and now features Native dance groups from throughout the state and nation. Native artisans also specialize in arts and crafts from multiple indigenous cultures. Their work will be displayed at the craft bazaar in the Great Hall, which is outside the Davis Concert Hall. Student and community volunteers, in cooperation with local, federal and state organizations, organize the Festival of Native Arts.

Watch live streaming video from alaskalivestream at livestream.com