Alutiiq Museum

Representatives of the First National Bank Alaska make a donation to the Alutiiq Museum.

The First National Bank of Alaska donated $5,000 to the Alutiiq Museum last week to support cultural programming. 

Representatives and staff of the Kodiak branch of the bank presented the donation to Alutiiq Heritage Foundation Board Chairwoman Margaret Roberts and Executive Director April Counceller, who accepted the gift on behalf of the museum, an Alutiiq Museum press release stated.

“This is actually not a normal everyday donation for us,” Counceller told the Kodiak Daily Mirror on Monday. 

Traditionally, the museum will apply for funding or will be invited to apply for funding, she said.

“In this case, the First National Bank of Alaska board of directors voted to give us this donation without us asking, just because they were watching our programs and seeing some of our work and really wanted to get involved and support it,” she said.  

The donation will help fund workshops, outreach events and Culture Fest on Aug. 31.

Culture Fest will be an opportunity for attendees to explore the museum, learn about new projects and exhibits and view performances by the Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers and other cultural groups, according to the event’s Facebook post.  

“We are going to be spreading it around the different functions of the museum in areas of need that fall under the donation requirements,” Counceller said.  

The donation was especially well-timed because of the governor’s elimination of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, which affects the museum’s funding, she said. 

“We (had) a grant through the Alaska State Council on the arts that was eliminated with the vetoes. So, although we are still hoping that the agency will be reinstated, it’s my understanding that the $33,000 operations grant that had been already awarded by the state was cancelled,” she said.

The museum has another grant through the Alaska State Council on the Arts totalling $75,000 which Counceller said the museum has already received.

“For the next year we are already covered and in the meantime they’re trying to come up with a solution,” she said.  

The Alutiiq Museum also received $4,982 from the city’s tourism and development fund to support its Craft Saturday event, where visitors can make Alutiiq-inspired arts and crafts.  

“We are touched by FNBA’s gift,” Counceller said in the news release. “It represents true community leadership. Cultural programming helps the Alutiiq people to know and live their culture, and it builds understanding among all Kodiak Islanders and promotes recognition of Kodiak’s rich heritage. We are grateful for this funding and the support of our mission.” 

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