Sun’aq Tribe to host Alutiiq Cultural Festival this Saturday

After months of planning, the Sun’aq Tribe will be hosting its Alutiiq Festival along Near Island’s North End Trail this Saturday. According to Alyssa Madrid, Cultural Program Coordinator for the Sun’aq Tribe, the festival will be held outdoors due to the pandemic.

“We decided to have an outdoor festival this time around. And with that, we are going to have a culture walk. And this will be at the Near Island North End trail- that main trail, as soon as you cross the bridge over on the left. The culture walk will basically have eight different booths along the trail. All the booths will be focusing on different aspects of our grant services as well as Alutiiq culture. So we will have a cama’i table to welcome everyone with gifts. And just checking into the event as well. We will have a resources table with Alutiiq language resources, books, and different ways you can get involved,” Madrid said.

An Alutiiq cultural celebration would of course be incomplete without the Alutiiq language. In addition to the language learning material, there will be a language game alongside other traditional Alutiiq games.

“We’ll have a language game station as well. And there will be a couple different games- one will be focusing on… it’s like a memory game. And it will be focusing on language. And then we also have our traditional games at that same table, like augca’aq… and those are traditional Alutiiq games. And they’ll be a little bit modified for the different age groups that will be welcomed at our event,” Madrid said

Ultimately, for Madrid, the Alutiiq Festival represents more than just a public display of culture- it’s a display of cultural values as well.

“Joy and having fun and humor are just some of the many aspects of what it means to be Alutiiq culture. So that’s really what this event is about- just having fun. We’re coming out of this dark age of COVID. And I think having an event like this outside with community is really just showing how resilient our people are, and that we can and will have a great time, no matter the circumstances, and we want to welcome everyone to that. Again, it’s about community- we want the Kodiak community to come and celebrate with us,” Madrid said.

Those interested can attend the Sun’aq Tribe’s Alutiiq Festival May 22nd, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Near Island’s North End Trail. No registration is required- the event is free and open to the public.

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