Native Arts Festival
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Native Arts Festival, 2004

Annual celebration held in the Charles Davis Concert Hall at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Native dance groups and artisans from all over Alaska participate, as well as ones from the lower 49 states, and even some foreign countries such as Japan and Russia.

The 2002 festival was dedicated to the late Effie Kokrine, Athabascan elder and educator. The event is free to the public, but for the next few years, remodeling in the building may cause a change of venue. It is usually held in late February or early March.

Begun in 1974, by University of Alaska students and faculty who conceived of a spring festival focused on "the artistic expressions of each Alaska Native culture", the three day event has grown each year to become one of the interior's largest celebrations of Alaska Native culture. In addition to performing, In addition to the performances, native arts and crafts for sale are traditionally displayed on crafts tables in the foyer of the Great Hall during the festival. Performers in at least a dozen different groups travel from remote villages and represent Aleut, Athabaskan, Gwinch'in, I˝upiak, Tlinglit/Haida, Tsimshian, and Yup'ik dance traditions, as well as Fairbanks-based dance groups. In fact, the Festival unites major native culture groups of Alaska, groups of the continental United States, and groups from countries such as Canada, Japan, and Russia. Together they share a rich heritage of their respective cultures, while educating others, as well as helping native college students adapt to life outside the villages, while giving them a chance to honor their heritage and express their aboriginal identities.

The first year, it only took three months to gather Native artists, crafts people and dancers from all major Native culture groups to the University of Alaska, Fairbanks campus to share their artistic traditions. It was, perhaps, the first time this had ever happened in Alaska. The first festivals were organized jointly by faculty and students, but more recently, UAF Native students have taken on the responsibilities of planning and production. Planning and making arrangements for housing, transportation, budgeting, fundraising,  rehearsels etc., placed such a load on students already loaded with University course work, that planning now takes place year-round. In addition, they also produce a souvenir booklet.

People of all cultures are welcomed to the festival, regardless of whether they are native or not, "as all cultures have something valuable to learn from each other."


2004  Schedule

Thursday, February 26, 2004,
Charles Davis Concert Hall

Time Dance Group
6:00-6:20pm AK Native Vets open/Dedication to Marshall & Lois Lind
6:25-6:45pm FNA Headstart
6:50-7:10pm FNA JOM Potlatch Dancers
7:15-7:35pm Kuskokwim Native Dancers
7:40-8:00pm Inu Yupiaq
8:05-8:25pm Pavva Inupiaq
8:30-8:50pm Iggigmiut Dance Group
8:55-9:15pm Iggigmiut Dance Group
9:20-9:40pm Naa Luudisk Gwaii Yatx'I
9:45-10:05pm Naa Luudisk Gwaii Yatx'I
10:10-10:55pm Walking Hawk
11:00-11:20pm Walking Hawk
Friday night Charles Davis Concert Hall, 6:50 pm - midnight AND
Wood Center, 6:25pm - midnight
Saturday: Pow Wow at David Salmon Tribal Hall, 2:00pm - 5:00 pm
Saturday night: Wood Center, 6:00pm - midnight
There will be vendor tables in the Great Hall on Thursday and Friday nights.

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