Dena'ina

UAA Alaska Native Studies Symposia

When it comes to stories, it’s not just what you say — it’s how you say it.

Local linguists are incorporating storytelling into their language revitalization efforts, giving elders a chance to create and tell stories in their native languages and imparting that knowledge onto language learners.

Joel Isaak, an artist and Dena'ina language professor with Kenai Peninsula College, spoke about that project at Tuesday’s Alaska Native Studies Symposia, put on by the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The Native inhabitants of the Kenai Peninsula before Western contact were masters at adapting to this land. Dr. Alan Boraas, anthropology professor at Kenai Peninsula College, presented “Yaghanen, The Time Before,” a discussion about the lives of the Dena’ina people who have lived and thrived here for a thousand years, to the Kasilof Regional Historical Association.

Signs of ancient salmon culture persist

Sep 17, 2018
Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

Last week, we reported on a panel discussion that took place in Soldotna about salmon habitat. One of the takeaways from that event was the fact that in many areas of the world that have lost their wild salmon runs, gone too is a culture based around salmon. But on the Kenai Peninsula, both the fish and the culture they spawn remain.

 

 


 

Wild plants sometimes get a bad rap. When they’re pretty, we call them wildflowers. But usually, when they’re in our gardens without being intentionally planted, they’re weeds. And if they’re especially tenacious, like horsetail, they might get called even worse names.

But how often do we look at them as food or medicine? Tia Holley, an ethnobotanist who works in the wellness program at the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, gives us tips on how and what to pick locally.

www.skihatcherpass.org

Few things tie a place and a culture together like language. On this week's Kenai Conversation, native place names, how they’ve changed and why it matters.


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