Jorie Ayyu Paoli receives a standing ovation after her keynote speech (Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM, 2017)

Jorie Ayyu Paoli delivered the keynote address at the Kawerak Leadership Summit in Nome. “Our community — we’re like the willow,” she said. “You can cut the willow down, you can cut it back, to try and get rid of it, but if there’s even a shred of root, it will re-grow and thrive.”

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Alaska Native dancing inside the Wales gymnasium

Alaska Native music and dance festivals are powerfully moving events, KNOM volunteer reporter Gabe Colombo discovered in the community of Wales this year. “It was amazing to see,” he says.

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An Alaska Native dance ensemble performs inside a school gymnasium.

The Native dance tradition has been revived in Wales and other communities over the past 20 years, after decades of cultural suppression by colonial forces. Today, as one elder put it, “coming here makes us feel whole.”

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A dance performance at Kingikmiut

Volunteer producers Maddie and Mitch recently traveled to the community of Wales for one of our region’s most notable annual events: the Kingikmiut Dance Festival, which brings together practitioners of traditional Alaska Native music and storytelling from throughout KNOM country.

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AFN 2013 dance performance

In late October, KNOM was proud to present live, “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of one of the most important annual gatherings in the state of Alaska: the Alaska Federation of Natives convention (AFN), which is held each autumn in either Fairbanks or Anchorage. For the many different Native communities of our state, AFN is an opportunity to…

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“Eskimo dancing and singing makes you feel good. It makes you forget all the problems you have in your life, your mind. It’s just like turning everything over to the care of God.” – Wilfred Anowlic Episode 1: Music Episode 2: Subsistence Episode 3: Peace  

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