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Festival of Native Arts to celebrate 36 years

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: 907-474-7902

03/17/09

Photo caption below.
Photo by Todd Paris, UAF Marketing and Communications
Members of the Inu-Yupiauq dance group practice for the Festival of Native Arts in the Brooks Building Gathering Room on the Fairbanks campus.

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The University of Alaska Fairbanks will host the 36th annual Festival of Native Arts March 19-21 in the Charles Davis Concert Hall and the Wood Center on the Fairbanks campus. This year's theme, "Under the great moon, we dance together as one," reflects the nearly two dozen Native dance groups and 30 Native artists who are expected to participate.

This year, organizers of the festival will dedicate every day of the event to individuals who have served the Native community. Madeline Bergman Bifelt from Allakaket and Huslia will be honored Thursday, March 19; Ruthie Sampson from Shungnak will be honored Friday, March 20; and Benny Albert from Nenana will be honored and remembered Saturday, March 21.

The festival will begin at 6 p.m. each day and continue until midnight. Audience members are encouraged to arrive early for dance events as seating is limited. The annual potlatch will take place March 21 at noon; it will be followed by an intertribal powwow until 5 p.m. Both events will take place in the Wood Center Carol Brown Ballroom. The potlatch and powwow will be in honor of "Uncle" Walter Austin, a longtime Anchorage resident, and are free and open to the public.

Native students and Student Orientation Services at UAF established the Fairbanks Festival of Native Arts in 1973. Today, the festival has grown in depth and focus, and now features Native dance groups from locations throughout the state and nation, such as Sitka, Nondalton, Stevens Village and Haines Junction, Canada and Hill City, S.D. Native artisans who participate in the festival specialize in arts and crafts from multiple indigenous cultures. The Festival of Native Arts is organized by student and community volunteers in cooperation with local, federal and state organizations.

CONTACT: Teneeshia York, Festival of Native Arts organizer, at 907-474-7181 or e-mail festival@uaf.edu. Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at 907-474-7902 or e-mail marmian.grimes@uaf.edu.