Celebrating Alaska Native Youth and Culture
R.O.C.K. Juneau’s (Raising Our Children with Kindness) effort to host 2018 as the Year of Kindness for Kids, dedicates the month of June to celebrate Alaska Native youth and culture, and recognizes Celebration 2018 hosted by Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) as a kick-off to support tribal youth in our community. The keystone of R.O.C.K.’s partner work is to co-create a community where children are loved, equipped and empowered.
Celebration 2018 begins June 6 and runs through June 9 to celebrate the rich heritage of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people. Traditional dancing, food contests, a Native fashion show, and art market are a few of the scheduled events. For full scheduling details, visit www.sealaskaheritage.org and be sure to look for the Toddler Regalia Review and the Juried Youth Art Show!
SHI President Rosita Worl states, “When we first held Celebration in 1982, we were celebrating that the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures had survived. Since then, Celebration has grown into a huge event and today we are celebrating the vibrancy of our cultures. Celebration has also been a way to teach our ancient songs and dances to our young people and to show them who they are. Celebration is not a ceremony but the songs and dances performed have their origins in our sacred ceremonies. So it has become a vital way to pass on some of our ancient practices. It has also been a way to share our cultures with the public and to promote cross-cultural understanding.”
R.O.C.K. Juneau strives to build a collaborative culture in Juneau where all children and teens have opportunity to learn their heritage, their language, and their interests surrounded with adults who value the childhood journey and can guide them to independence and contribution as healthy adults. Let’s build this community together.
Here’s a Year of Kindness for Kids invitation for you to consider this month: How can I (personally and/or professionally) share in the support of tribal children and teens?
R.O.C.K. Juneau invites you to participate in Celebration 2018, cheer Alaska Native accomplishments, and to volunteer or donate to programs that support language and cultural opportunities for youth. Additional opportunities to support and engage in cultural events and programs for youth will be featured throughout the month of June. If you would like more information, or have information to share, please contact ROCKJuneau@gmail.com.
May celebration be the way of life! Lasting celebration calls us to live in harmony and with gratitude of this exquisite land, with balance and respect among people, and to honor our children, our future.
Special thanks to Rosita Worl of Sealaska Heritage Institute and Tina DeAsis-Wright of Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska for their contributions to this column.