Steffian. “By sharing historical preservation
messages, and teaching people to enjoy Ko-
diak archaeology, it’s a way to promote the
preservation of Alutiiq heritage and promote
respect to the tribal community.”
As of late March, the museum had raised
$110,000 toward its $179,000 funding goal,
and Steffian is confident the project will re-
main on track.
“It is one example of the way the Alutiiq
museum works to uplift community awareness and to create a dialogue on Alutiiq heritage. It’s a way to create a space we hope is
inviting to many people,” Steffian says.
The Alutiiq Museum opened in 1995 and
since then has engaged in many projects that
serve its mission to preserve and share Alutiiq
heritage such as reparation efforts and having
Alutiiq collections returned to Kodiak.
“Our motto is celebrating heritage through
living culture, to not only tell people about
Alutiiq traditions but to help the Alutiiq community live their culture,” says Steffian.
The Alutiiq community, she explains, is
one of the least known Alaska Native communities, so the museum works to reacquaint
residents in and out of Alaska with Alutiiq
traditions. There are about 1,800 Alutiiq descendants on Kodiak and thousands living in
other state regions and the Lower 48.
The museum also boasts an active language program in which elders teach younger
generations and the young generation helps
in developing new words for the language.
“Language is a living thing. If you don’t have
a word for computer a word must be created.
We do a lot of work with the culture bearers
of many different ages,” explains Steffian. “We
really do invite all and anybody to come and
join in our programs and enjoy our events and
exhibits. It is a way for all people to learn about
the deep history of the Kodiak region.”
According to the state labor department,
English is the top language in Alaska, spo-
ken by 86. 3 percent of the population; Alaska
Native languages are spoken by 5. 2 percent.
According to “Language Relationships” au-
thored by Gary Holton and published by the
Alaska Native Language Center at the Uni-
versity of Alaska Fairbanks, there are at least
twenty Alaska Native languages that belong
to four distinct language families.
Language Preservation Is Critical
Preserving Alaska Native language is important to Bering Straits Native Corporation
(BSNC), the regional corporation for the Bering Strait region.
BSNC Vice President of Media and External Affairs Matt Ganley explains that language immersion, along with technology and
social media, are a few of the methods Alaska
Natives are using to preserve heritage.
“Facebook and other social media platforms are great tools to share how-to videos
of how to hand-spin musk ox wool, or qiviut;
how to make a kuspuk; or how to quickly cut
a pike fish with an ulu, for example,” says
Ganley, adding that educational apps that
make use of the special characters needed to
text in Alaska Native languages are helping
to increase language learning.
Volunteers at the
work with museum
study Alutiiq history.
Alutiiq Museum |
Brice Environmental’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Imagery
services allow you to collect data without the risk and cost
associated with employing conventional aircraft to collect
• Mirrorless, high resolution camera
• Track project progress in near real-time
• Make project decisions more quickly
Safe. Accurate. A;ordable.
That’s UAS Orthoimagery.
Saint George, Alaska storm repair
post-construction aerial inspection.