Cultural Pursuits Award recognizes youth who promote cultural practices, art

Cultural Pursuits Award recognizes youth who promote cultural practices, art

CIRI sponsored the Cultural Pursuits Award at the 10th annual Spirit of Youth Awards Banquet in Anchorage on March 29. Twenty-two winners from 16 communities were recognized and celebrated for their contributions.

The Cultural Pursuits category recognizes nominees who actively engage and promote traditional cultural practices and arts. Previous nominees keep their culture alive through teaching Native dance, sewing, beading, carving totem poles, and practicing subsistence skills.

Winners of the CIRI 2008 Cultural Pursuits award:

Anchorage’s East Indian Youth Dance Group
For the past three years, Anchorage’s East Indian Youth Dance Group has performed at many community and cultural events in Anchorage including Asian Cultural Night and Music in the Park. Their dances range from traditional Dhandiya to more modern Bhangra and Bollywood dances. What’s most intriguing about this group is their ability to choreograph their movements using ideas from Indian movies, YouTube and community adults. Because Anchorage’s East Indian community is so small, this group encourages everyone to come together, taking pride in their culture through dance.

Disney Williams-Unalaska
Disney Williams, a senior at Unalaska City High School, has strived to take part in encouraging her young Alaska Native peers to seek a better future. Disney co-founded the first Alaska Native youth group in Unalaska. This group, also known as The Voices of Indigenous Peoples, strives to re-establish traditional values, connect with the Alaska Native past and build on a better future. The group gains knowledge from elders in the community through educational classes on art, story-telling and history. After about three years, the Voices of Indigenous Peoples has blossomed.

The mission of Spirit of Youth is to promote, create and recognize youth involvement. Go online to for more information.