In support of the “Fissions of Native Identity” exhibit, Kodiak History Museum has invited Sperry Ash to partner with it in creating the workshop “Llang’ama (When I Became Aware): Recalling One's Earliest Memories.”
This will be the museum’s first workshop since 2020. It is scheduled for Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon and is free and open to the public.
Ash, a rural educator from Kachemak Bay, will be leading the workshop on Alutiiq identity. He values oral tradition, storytelling and history, and created the workshop based on a concept from Alutiiq/Sugpiaq traditional culture which marked age in stages of development rather than time.
“Our experiences and our recognition of our environment, our first awareness influence our development,” Ash said in an interview with KDM.
He plans to open the workshop with traditional stories passed on to him from his family, and will get participants involved telling their own stories.
“I come from a [culture] where traditional storytelling was very strong in my family,” Ash said. “I really hope to have that passed along to younger generations.”
The story of when someone first became aware is tied to their later identity, according to a statement. By telling their first story, participants will come to understand their own identity and selfhood.
This event is “a way for our Kodiak community to use a different way of thinking when exploring one’s identity,” Kodiak History Museum Curator Lynn Walker said in a statement. “This event is for anyone working through their personal and cultural identities.
“Telling your story is one way [to share] who you are as a person, as part of your community, as part of your culture. Kodiak History Museum can serve as a platform and facilitator of this exploration through our resources and material presented as part of this exhibit.”
“Fissions of Native Identity” explores who is Native and who decides who Natives are. It looks into the history of Russian and United States colonization and assimilation in Kodiak, and at the biological level it is designed to help determine race and identity and on the basis of reality. The exhibit is scheduled to continue until September.
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