• Canoe-landing, music, food, culture and dance comes to Homer this weekend
By Randi Somers
After a three-year hiatus, Tamamta Katurlluta, A Gathering of Native Traditions, (which is usually held every two years; the last was in 2010) is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
It is a coming together of Alaska Native artists, elders, tradition-bearers, dancers, drummers and non-Native participants for cultural sharing, storytelling and community building, with participants from the villages of Nanwalek, Port Graham, Seldovia, Ninilchik and the Kenaitze Indian Tribe converging.
The gathering opens with a reception Friday evening, from 5-7 p.m., at the Pratt Museum. Saturday events begin at noon with the traditional Kayak (Qayaq) Landing Ceremony on the beach behind Pier One Theatre on the Spit, bringing participants from around Kachemak Bay. This arrival is celebrated with song and dance on the beach. A full afternoon at the Pratt follows from 1:30 to 5 p.m., with a community potluck featuring traditional foods, a performance by Allison Akootchook Warden and much more. Native Youth Olympics games are one of the highlights.
Then the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission will demonstrate the proper harvesting and preparation of seal which is an important part of the Native culture and subsistence diet. This includes the saving of biosamples. Their biosampling program was initiated in 1996 and has since certified 155 biosamplers from 40 villages in Alaska that submit scientific samples from the seals that they hunt. So far, they have collected samples from more than 500 harbor seals. These samples are all archived at the University of Alaska Museum and are used in a variety of ongoing research projects. An important component of this program is encouraging the involvement of Alaska Native Youth. It provides a forum for hunters to pass on traditional knowledge to the next generation and engages native youth in science and fosters their sense of stewardship of natural resources.
An evening of dance and culture featuring guest performers, “Yurapik” and regional performance groups starts at 7 p.m. at Homer High School Mariner Theatre.
This year’s Master of Ceremonies for The Gathering is multi-talented performance artist, Allison Warden. Native dance groups from across Kachemak Bay and around the Kenai Peninsula will perform, as will Yurapik-The Real Dance from Anchorage.
All these events are free and open to the public with the exception of the Saturday night performance for which there is a $5 admission charge. Youngsters under 12 are admitted free.
The event brings together hundreds of Native elders, as well as other Native and non-Native participants. Artists, dancers, drummers and story tellers come to Homer to experience a weekend of culture sharing and community building.
It is also an opportunity for non-Natives to learn more about the Native culture, while enjoying all aspects of it from food to drumming and dancing.
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