Dec. 6—After a successful summer season, the Alaska Native Heritage Center decided to hold its annual holiday bazaar that was canceled last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "By having this event, we are supporting our local Indigenous artists," said Paul Asicksik, a cultural program manager at the center.
"For the first time we are open in the winter," said Asicksik. "People can just look around. We show films in the theatre that are cultural. They can walk around the village sites. There is no dancing, no storytelling, or Native games like in the summer." Admission is free for the winter season Monday — Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Ann Lawrence walked towards an Athabascan site with her great granddaughter Lynnae Howarth, 6, while attending the second day of the Alaska Native Heritage Center Holiday Bazaar on Sunday.
"We're here today to celebrate our cultural heritage (Inupiaq, Yup'ik, and Cup'ik) so Lynnae can be exposed, so she can see that all cultures our important within our People, even throughout the word." said Lawerence. "A celebration of our People, of our resilience."
"I also love to support the Native arts and crafts artists because this is showing themselves and their ancestors work—to continue to perpetuate it," said Lawrence. "For our People to see they can make a living through artwork. My dad did that. He was an ivory carver from Little Diomede Island and he did that all his life."
Artist Percy Avugiak who paints "colorful abstract Native art paintings" sold out of greeting cards based on his acrylic painting of "the lighting of the Christmas tree." Painted during the pandemic, "the animals are practicing social distancing." Avugiak pointed out details in the painting like a raven that stole the snowman's carrot nose and a "photo bombing fox."