Cook Inlet Tribal Council Inc. (CITC) recently unveiled an exhibit of Dena’ina artwork and cultural objects, including items from the A. Debbie Fullenwider Collection. The Fullenwider Collection is a rare group of objects originally belonging to Chief Alex Vasily (1886-1953), the last tribal chief and medicine man of Eklutna. They range from chief ‘s regalia to carving knives used by Chief Alex, who was a traditional craftsman, hunter and fisherman.
According to Gloria O’Neill, CITC president and chief executive officer, the exhibit is a reflection of CITC’s inclusive mission and its programs that serve Native people who have come to Anchorage from throughout Alaska.
“Although we’re a thoroughly modern organization, housed in a contemporary office building, we are grounded in Alaska Native values and our identity as Alaska Native people,” said O’Neill. “We are honored to present this collection and showcase our heritage.”
In addition to Chief Alex’s belongings, the exhibition includes artwork from throughout Alaska representing the cultural heritage of all Alaska’s Native people, including a traditional Yup’ik wooden feast bowl and a decorative contemporary Athabascan tunic and headpiece, a reproduction of a 19th-century garment.
The exhibit is located in the ground floor lobby of CITC headquarters, named the Nat’uh building.
“Nat’uh is a Dena’ina Athabascan word meaning ‘our special place’,” said O’Neill. “We want people to feel, as soon as they walk into the building, that this is a place for them to be comfortable, a place where they will find the resources and help they need to reach for their potential.”
The Nat’uh building is located at 3600 San Jeronimo Drive in Anchorage. CITC is a CIRI-affiliated nonprofit organization. For more information, go online to www.citci.com.