Volunteer Josh Cunningham recently took a very special trip as a correspondent for KNOM.
Josh went to the southwestern Alaska city of Bethel for the Cama-i (chuh-MY) Dance Festival, one of the largest and most significant annual cultural celebrations in the state. KNOM regularly sends its full-time volunteers to cover important regional and local events – these “village trips” are a staple of our program – although as Josh describes, his latest travel was unique:
Firstly, to call the experience a “village trip” isn’t entirely correct. After all, the population of Bethel, Alaska is more than double that of Nome. You’ll find within its borders a nationally known chain restaurant, paved roads, and even a stoplight intersection. Like a “normal” KNOM village trip, however, I was there for a very important mission: to collect Native drum and dance music from the annual Cama-i Festival.
Native Alaskan music is a very important part of KNOM’s daily programming. On my afternoon show alone, you can hear several Native songs from communities in our region, like Hooper Bay, St. Lawrence Island, and Unalakleet. I feel it is so important to feature Native songs in this way; at the end of the day, I hope a very special message comes across with these songs. I want people to know how important this music is, how much life and knowledge they hold.
Through your support, special trips like Josh’s continue to touch the lives both of our listeners and of our staff. Thank you for making them possible! (Photo: dancers at the 2013 Cama-i Festival.)