• The “Gathering of Native Traditions” opens Friday at the Pratt
A unique dance troop formed from Tlingit-Haida tribes bring their songs and stories to Homer this weekend to help celebrate a gathering hosted by the Pratt Museum and Kachemak Bay tribes.
The group’s leader, Hazel Tumulak, tells of the places where songs and stories emerged because both are tightly connected to their sources in clans.
“Our members are originally from the villages of Yaakw.daat, Tlaakwaan, Keex’, and even a few Inupiat from the Seward Peninsula areas. These places will always be our homes,” Tumulak said. Since forming in 1986, many children grew up with the troop, including Tumulak’s daughter who is now 25 years old and writes some of the group’s songs.
“We have been fortunate to have many wonderful leaders teach us songs, including: Carmen Quinto, Linda Dewitt, Ray Wilson, Chubby Skeek and Paul Marks I,” Tumulak said.
At one of the two-day event’s highlights — a performance in the Mariner Theatre Saturday night — she will introduce songs and stories passed down as clan property. Those who sing and dance these songs must have clan permission.
For 15 years, the collaboration between the Pratt Museum and Kachamek Bay Region has come together in Tamamta Katurlluta to celebrate the region’s cultural heritage and educate diverse audiences about the rich Native traditions and contemporary life in the region.
It’s a biennial coming-together of dozens of Native artists, tradition-bearers, dancers, drummers, elders, youth, and hundreds of non-Native participants for culture-sharing and community-building. This event brings Sugpiaq/Alutiiq cultures of Kachemak Bay together with the Dena’ina Athabascan and Aleut cultures of the greater Kenai Peninsula, as well as others from around the state.
The event includes a welcoming reception, with special exhibit “Inspiration! An Alaska Native Art Exhibition” that has been on display at the Pratt throughout August. A landing ceremony of the kayaks on the Homer Spit Saturday morning allows the visitors to greet one another. That is followed by a day at the Pratt, featuring a potluck that is a chance for all to share traditional foods. A storytelling performance by renowned Yup’ik storyteller Jack Dalton of Hooper Bay, Native
Youth Olympics demonstrations, and a Harbor Seal Commission Educational event are detailed in the schedule.
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