Keynote speakers announced for Elders and Youth

(Dancers perform during the 2016 Elders and Youth conference in Fairbanks. Photo courtesy of the First Alaskans’ Institute)

The First Alaskans Institute has announced the keynote speakers for the Elders and Youth conference just ahead of the Alaska Federation of Natives this October in Anchorage.

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The elder keynote address will be given by Clare Swan of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe, a long-time advocate for Native fishing rights in Cook Inlet and on the Kenai Peninsula. Swan also served on the board of directors for CIRI, the regional corporation for Cook Inlet.

The youth keynote speaker is Chris Agragiiq Apassingok of Gambell on St. Lawrence Island. The 16-year-old gained notoriety earlier this year when he landed a harpoon strike on a whale during a successful subsistence hunt. An online backlash ensued after a radical animal rights activist criticized the teenager online, sparking national attention.

First Alaskans Institute is also hosting a private dance party with Canadian First Nations DJ group A Tribe Called Red during the conference. It’s the group’s second time performing in Alaska.

The 34th Elders and Youth conference begins October 16th.