Nay’dini’aa Na’ Hwt’aene Ugheldze’ Xuk’anotta Nene’ (Nurture the Land and People) Project is working to revitalize and provide Ahtna Athabascan cultural restoration and preservation and cultural knowledge by developing an Ahtna Cultural Resource Library, writing an Ahtna Cultural Education Book and providing frequent Ahtna cultural education events to Tribal citizens and local communities. This project is funded by the Administration for Native Americans from October 2015 to September 2018.
The Nurture the Land and People project is providing culturally rich and sustainable employment opportunities in our rural community.
The Ahtna Cultural Education Book will consist of lesson plans for teaching youth and adults. We will create the book with guidance from Chickaloon Village Cultural Committee and through the personal interviews of Ahtna Athabascan Elders, artists, and tradition bearers. Using lessons in the book, we will provide 30 Ahtna cultural education events in the community. We will establish an Ahtna Cultural Resource Library consisting of artifacts, art, photos, written documentation of Ahtna cultural practices, audio recordings, digital videos and reference books. The library will provide new opportunities to develop personal connections with Ahtna knowledge and practices.
The Cultural Education Book and Resource Library will provide regular opportunities for Ahtna cultural knowledge acquisition on subjects such as ancestral self-sufficiency, cultural reciprocity with the environment, cultural ceremonies, cultural arts and crafts, and traditional food preparations. The Nurture the Land and People Project will serve as a catalyst for the creation of new cultural experiences and stories with the goal of converting these “new traditions” to digital media.
In addition to the cultural education activities, this project will enable CVTC to develop an Ahtna cultural tourism program. This will support cultural sustainability and cultural employment opportunities. We will hire three Cultural Interpretive Guides who will be trained to share Ahtna historical and cultural presentations as well as local natural history interpretation. Free training opportunities will be offered throughout the 3-year project in tourism training in hospitality, customer service, interpretive guiding, interpretive hosting, and cultural awareness to help develop tourism job skills within the greater community. The project will enable us to engage in statewide cultural tourism development and networking as well as develop a business plan for a future hotel/conference center and Ahtna Cultural Park.
This project will not only benefit the Tribal citizens and also the more than 3000 community members in our Matanuska River watershed, as well as other Alaskan Tribes and Tribal organizations, museums, tour companies and visitors. It can serve as a model for other Tribes and tourism groups throughout Alaska by establishing and strengthening cultural tourism networks.
We believe that through Ahtna cultural rejuvenation we can better our community’s health and wellness, and through the development of cultural tourism we can create cultural sustainability and satisfying employment opportunities.
Thank You to our Project Partners:
Alpine Historical Society and Park
Palmer Museum of History and Art
Dorothy G. Page Museum
Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau
Alaska Travel Industry Association