Generations join together, to talk and heal in Alaska
The Elders and Youth Conference, hosted annually by the First Alaskans Institute, provides a moment for young and old generations to come together to share in their common history and beliefs and begin the racial healing process.
The media’s negative portrayal of Alaska Natives, lack of positive role models and cultural understanding force many young Alaska Natives to disassociate themselves with their cultural heritage. The Elders and Youth conference, hosted annually by the First Alaskans Institute seeks to join young and old people together, to share in their history and learn from one another.
Through this experience, “young people are able to see that they have potential, that their experience is valuable, and that they’re able to contribute,” says Andrea Sanders, associate policy analyst at the First Alaskans Institute said.
As a culture with a strong oral tradition, for the Alaska Native heritage to continue it must be passed down to younger generations. The Elders and Youth conference provides that moment where young and old can come together to share in their common history and beliefs and begin the difficult healing process that has to happen.