Websites have become an indispensable part of daily life. People increasingly read the news, pay bills, make appointments, chat with friends, and even study on line. The Alutiiq Museum is taking advantage of this trend to share the Alutiiq world and our work. On our website you can watch lectures, tour the museum, listen to Elders speak Alutiiq, download cultural information, and shop for Alutiiq art. Every day, we make Alutiiq heritage accessible to a global internet audience.
Unfortunately, however, a core part of our audience still struggles to connect. Most residents of Kodiak’s villages have poor access to the digital world. The challenges of bringing broadband to remote communities, slow speeds, and expensive plans make it difficult for many Alutiiq people to use the Internet.
Connect Kodiak has three parts. The first is a planning partnership. Working with KANA’s Kodiak Rural Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, funded by the Economic Development Administration, Garcie will help to design a program for sustainable broadband development.
Second, Garcie will help Kodiak communities establish and improve local media centers. While some villages have a publicly available media center where residents can access the internet, others do not. This part of the project will focus on both equipment and connection.
Finally, the museum is helping Ouzinkie with a grant proposal to test TV White Space as a source of internet signal. If funded, the award would help the village supply improved Broadband WiFi to its public media center.
Ultimately, this one year project with – and help the Alutiiq Museum connect its resources with the Alutiiq community.
Munartet Means Artists
Armed with butter knives, a room full of teachers works intently to carve blocks of soap. Each holds a thick, oval bar of Dove, whittling the soft white material into the shape of an Alutiiq mask. Noses, brows, and mouths emerge from the soft bars, their rough edges polished with fingers dipped in water. This activity is one of two miniature mask-making projects designed by artist June Pardue, and shared with educators through a recent museum workshop. The event was part of the Munartet project, an effort to infuse Kodiak classrooms with art and culture.
Munartet–the Alutiiq word for artist, is the title of this innovative, multi-year partnership between the Kodiak Island Borough School District, Kodiak College, the Kodiak Arts Council, and the Alutiiq Museum. Through Munartet, these organizations are helping teachers add art and cultural activities to their lesson plans, so that they become of vehicles for teaching history, literature, and even science.
At the recent miniature mask-making workshop, Pardue introduced participants to the use and importance of Alutiiq masks, including their connections to song and dance. Then teachers carved masks on bars of soap and painted a mask design on a split, wooden, goose egg. Importantly, both activities are suitable for of a variety of grade levels, use affordable materials, and can be completed in a single class period with tools safe for even the youngest students. And they help students learn about Native heritage in a fun, creative way.