Students of all ages in villages around Kodiak Island have enjoyed Alutiiq Week activities for more than a decade. The opportunity to explore Alutiiq heritage with hands-on educational projects is enormously popular, especially during school hours. However, only one Alutiiq Week session has been held in the City of Kodiak, until now. During spring break 2015, the Alutiiq Museum and Sun'aq Tribe worked together to host a Kodiak-based Alutiiq Week, with generous support from the CIRI Foundation, KIBSD, Native Village of Afognak, KANA, Sun'aq WildSource, Subway, and a team of adult volunteers and Elders.
During the five-day event, students of all ages enjoyed a wide variety of cultural activities. Younger students, Kindergarten through third grade, spent their mornings playing Alutiiq language games, listening to traditional stories, and working on art projects. Older students, from fourth grade to high school, participated in harvest cooking, beach glass jewelry making, and salve making in the morning. After lunch, the youngest participants went home, while older students stayed to work on more detailed craft activities.
In the afternoons, older students choose between Alutiiq dancing, carving, sewing, or collaborating on a glass mosaic mural project. Those who chose Alutiiq dance learned to perform seven songs and developed original choreography for the traditional song "Ukut Skuunat - These Schooners". The glass mosaic mural, an image of a salmon swimming upstream, is now on display on the second floor entrance of the Sun'aq Tribal Hall.
A total of 86 students participated in the well-attended event, held at Kodiak College. Everyone had fun learning together. On Monday, the entire group played Alutiiq games. On Friday, the older students learned about edible seaweed identification at Abercrombie Beach, while younger students learned two Alutiiq dances and performed them for students and families after lunch. Artists, culture bearers, and museum staff members led the activities. Many had recently completed a three-day workshop on best practices for cultural arts education, and were eager to try new skills.
Parents were appreciative, too. Katie Joca wrote, "I am so glad I signed my daughter up for this camp. It's well run, she is learning a ton, and coming home with fun stories, new words in the Alutiiq language. Thank you!"