A Word from CIRI President Sarah Lukin

Culture, Community and Connection

CIRI President Sarah Lukin (Alutiiq)

Cama’i (hello)!

After Anchorage’s second-snowiest winter on record, spring finally arrived! As our Alaska Native ancestors have done for millennia, we embrace the season by preparing for summer subsistence activities—readying our salmon nets, planting our gardens and watching for the first signs of spring greens.

In my village of Port Lions on Kodiak Island, salmon fishing is a principal part of our way of life. Smoking salmon is a process of patience and collaboration. It takes many hands to set and bring in the net; split, rinse and salt the fish; and hang the fillets in the smoke house. The smoke house must be watched day and night for up to seven days to ensure the fire doesn’t go out and bears don’t steal the fish. The process of putting up fish emphasizes the interdependency of community, land and resources; all are integral to ensuring our physical, cultural and spiritual well-being. The sharing and eating of our subsistence foods is one of the ways we connect with each other and pass along our rich cultural traditions.

Our spring Information Meetings and Annual Meeting likewise invite us to come together and connect over a shared meal. I enjoyed seeing many of you at our Information Meetings, and I am looking forward to our Annual Meeting in June! The 2024 Annual Meeting coincides with the annual opening of the Kenaitze and Salamatof Educational Fishery—a program that provides families the resources to fish for salmon in what’s currently a non-subsistence-use area. We commend the fishery on 35 years of providing for our Elders and families and educating future generations about this important traditional resource!

With summer nearly here, CIRI is preparing to welcome our summer interns. We are excited for the skills, talents and perspectives they will bring to the table. I would also like to congratulate our many high school and college graduates! Siluwamken (I am proud of you)! If you plan to pursue higher education or vocational training, please visit The CIRI Foundation (TCF) website to see if you are eligible for grant or scholarship opportunities. You can read more about TCF’s improved online application system in this issue of the Raven’s Circle.

Quyanaa (thank you),

Sarah Lukin
CIRI President