Students and faculty at Alaska Christian College (ACC) celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day on its Soldotna, Alaska, campus, October 9-11, 2021. The second state in the nation to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, Alaska formalized the decision in 2015.
Jeff Siemers, executive vice president at the college, says, “ACC is committed to the traditions and heritage of the Alaska Native peoples. We acknowledge the past, honor the culture, and celebrate the future of indigenous peoples. The land, the language, ways of knowing, and indigenous values are incorporated into the celebration of the people.”
Festivities included a Native Youth Olympics skill-building showcase with traditional competitions such as one-foot high kick, one-hand reach, and seal hop, where competitors hop in pushup position across the floor.
Students also received instruction on traditional ulu knife-making from Native elder and North Park Theological Seminary graduate Joel Oyoumick. Some students also made kuspuks, an Alaskan traditional hooded overshirt with large front pockets.
The community shared in eating moose stew, fry bread, and akutuk, Eskimo ice cream made of reindeer fat or tallow, seal oil, snow or water, fresh berries, and sometimes ground fish. Akutuk is whipped by hand so it cools into a foam.
About the Author
Jill Riley is a freelance editor with the Companion. A former church planter, she now dedicates her time to writing and speaking on issues surrounding mental illness and the faith community. Her podcast, Post Traumatic Faith, is available on iTunes, or you can follow her at jillriley.com/blog.