The Alaska Humanities Forum is excited to announce its 2021 annual grants awards! Six organizations across the state will each receive grants in the amount of $15,000 for projects - digital products, publications, film, exhibits, and oral histories - that engage, inform, and connect people across Alaska through the humanities.  This year, non-profit organizations; institutions of higher education; state, local, and federally recognized Indian tribal governments were able to apply for funding to support projects based in Alaska that impact Alaska communities.

Below are the 2021 grantees - congratulations!

Stories Untold: Sitka Tells Tales Expands | Southeast Alaska | Digital Product
Artchange, Inc.
A collaborative effort involving Artchange, Inc., KCAW Raven Radio and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, working together to create a new storytelling hour to air on the radio. Partnering with the Sitka Tribe’s Healing to Wellness Court Program- an alternative to incarceration for people coping with non-violent drug and alcohol offenses. The program focuses on a holistic approach that incudes emotional, spiritual, traditional and cultural health. The Stories Untold project will involve participants in interviewing elders and collecting traditional and contemporary stories.

Echoes of Funter Bay: Legacies of internment | Aleutian Islands | Film
KTOO Public Media
“Funter Bay” (working title) is a 30 minute documentary film that explores the history of Unangax̂ internment during World War II. Four years into their marriage, Martin and Ann Stepetin discovered that both their families had been placed in internment camps by the U.S. government. While the federal government recognized the wrongs of relocation in 1988 with the Civil Liberties Act, the gravesites of internees at Funter Bay remain unprotected and largely unknown to the public. The “Funter Bay” film follows Martin’s efforts to protect and memorialize the cemetery at Funter Bay with a coalition of volunteers from across Alaska.

Black in Alaska | Mat-Su / Anchorage | Exhibit
Alaska Community Foundation
In early 2020, Rasmsuson held African American convenings with Anchorage and Fairbanks leaders to strengthen its relationship with the communities and for closer partnership, resulting in a multi-media storytelling project, Black in Alaska. The project is an opportunity to tell stories of Alaskans who are Black, who represent diverse ages, genders, and occupations. The stories, photos, and media will live on their own website and will be shared out via social media. A Black in Alaska exhibit is planned at the Anchorage Museum alongside an exhibit Black Lives in Alaska: Journey, Justice, Joy.

Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa Dictionary Project, Phase 1 | Interior | Publication
The Language Conservancy
The Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa Dictionary Project will create the first comprehensive dictionary of Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa, the language of the Gwich’in people. This project directly addresses a long-held Gwich’in community goal, the creation of more accessible language-learning resources for our schools and communities. The dictionary will be made available at no cost to the Gwich’in community and the public at large through a website and mobile apps. The dictionary will make Dinjii Zhuh K’yaa second-language and immersion pedagogy more effective in producing a greater number of expert speakers. This first phase of the dictionary project will create a substantial portion of the underlying database that will power the dictionary.

KYUK Waves of Wisdom Interactive Library | Y-K Delta | Digital Product
Bethel Broadcasting, Inc.
The project will be the successful completion of a website that will extend our Waves of Wisdom collection, containing roughly 100 transcribed and translated Yup'ik elder interviews, with an online video catalog and interactive subtitles. We will contract two local Yup'ik software developers, Christopher Egalaaq Liu and Lonny Alaskuk Strunk. Currently, people are unable to search for these videos by topic. Our goal for the website is to provide a digital catalog of the videos with keyword categories in order to increase public access to the collection. One unique feature about these interactive subtitles will be the ability for viewers to highlight individual words and receive immediate English translation. The website will be designed to easily integrate new media collections in the future.

Preserving and Sharing Cultural Knowledge: Bering Strait Stories and Experiences (aka The Supernatural Project) | Bering Strait | Publication
Kawerak, Inc.
The primary deliverable is a book of stories of oral storytelling and lived experiences that can be described as "supernatural" from 18 of the 20 tribes in the Norton Sound/Bering Strait region. The book will focus on stories documented from tribal members over the past six years of the Supernatural Project, with accompanying artwork (visual art and photographs, e.g. of carvings and landscapes) commissioned by the project from tribal members. Currently a draft book manuscript to be completed this fall, this grant would fund that final stage of transforming the manuscript into a book.