Ilakucaraq means "being together" in Yugtun, the language of the Yup'ik people of Southwest Alaska.

(Pronounced: Ee-la-cou-jaw-ga-ck)

Ilakucaraq participants build confidence in their cultural identities while forming a supportive community with other Alaska Native youth from around the state. Understanding culture as a source of strength helps students navigate high school and find success in post-secondary opportunities and beyond.

Key program components include:

  • Personal reflections
  • Positive self- and cultural identity formation
  • Cross-cultural experiences
  • Peer-to-peer learning and discussions
  • Elder and culture bearer teachings
  • Art and storytelling

Ilakucaraq is a partnership between the Alaska Humanities Forum, Alaska Native Heritage Center, and Mt. Edgecumbe High School.

The Alaska Humanities Forum is leading two Ilakucaraq youth programs open to all Alaska Native high school students located anywhere in Alaska. Both rural and urban students are encouraged to participate.

Virtual Sessions
Year-Long Cohorts

The Alaska Native Heritage Center will be providing an Indigenous-based curriculum and offering Cultural Awareness Training for 300 educators in Alaska.


Emily Brockman

Youth Program Manager
Email Contact

Virtual Sessions

Do you work with Alaska Native youth in grades 9-12?

The Alaska Humanities Forum is facilitating FREE hour-long virtual educational programs for groups of Alaska Native youth to foster a strong sense of pride about who they are and where they come from.

Program 1: Reflecting on Culture and Identity

Students share a personal story in small groups about something that has shaped them. These stories serve as the foundation for reflecting on cultural values and a discussion about positive cultural identity.

Program 2: Anticipating Post-Graduation Life Challenges

Students read an essay by a young Indigenous woman who struggled with being the only Native student in her college and how embracing her cultural background ultimately led to fulfilling work. This reading leads to a discussion about the challenges of leaving home and how feeling grounded in themselves can help students navigate their lives post-graduation.

Each program engages youth in self-reflection and discussion, strengthening connections between students.

Program Length: 1 hour

Program Audience: School classes (language arts, health, advisory, etc), after school programs, youth leadership or culture groups, counselors looking to reach certain students, and any other groups of predominantly Alaska Native youth in grades 9-12.

Group Size: 5-25

We may be able to adapt program content to better serve your group; email Molissa Udevitz at to discuss.

Registration is currently closed for the 2021-2022 school year. Please visit back in August to schedule for the 2022-2023 school year.


Year-Long Cohorts

IP Cohorts bring rural and urban Alaska Native youth together to explore their heritages, share their cultures, and find strength in being Indigenous. The year-long experience allows each cohort to become a tight-knit community that supports one another as participants build confidence in who they are and their relationship to their cultures.

For more information about IP cohorts please visit this page.


Mt. Edgecumbe High School Partnership

The Forum also leads Ilakucaraq programming for Mt. Edgecumbe High School’s Junior Advisory class. This class guides high school juniors through the process of identifying their values and post-high school aspirations.

Through multi-day intensives and virtual sessions, Junior Advisory students talk with Alaska Native role models about their experiences after high school, learn how a strong sense of cultural identity is related to college success, and further their understanding of how their identities are shaped.

The Ilakucaraq Project is funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Alaska Native Education Program.

AKHF: Celebrating 50 Years!

The Alaska Humanities Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that designs and facilitates experiences to bridge distance and difference – programming that shares and preserves the stories of people and places across our vast state, and explores what it means to be Alaskan.

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