"Keeper of the Fire" necklaces designed and crafted by Kenaitze Bunny Swan-Gease.
Throughout the millenniums Raven has been a legendary part of native Alaskan cultures and stories. Most recently Raven was chosen as the mascot for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games, the largest cultural and sporting event ever hosted on the Kenai Peninsula. As an inspiration for the Games, Kenaitze tribe member and national recording artist Bunny Swan-Gease wrote a Raven Song called Ggugguyni. Ggugguyni is the word for Raven in the Dena’ina Athabascan language of Cook Inlet in Southcentral Alaska. “The Raven song seemed to fit so well with the story originally written down by Peter Kalifornsky in a collection of his writings that I was honored to be able to re-create the story of Ggugguyni and the Geese and record it with my song on a new CD,” said Swan.
A self-taught writer and scholar born in 1911, Peter Kalifornsky wrote traditional stories, poems, and language lessons in the Dena’ina Athabascan language, breathing new life into the ancestral heritage of the Peninsula’s host culture. “His spirit lives on today as inspiration for us to create new indigenous horizons,” says Bunny. Last week Swan was invited to perform the story and song at the largest Native American art show in the country held in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A Grammy award nominee for her previous album, Swan is also an accomplished painter and maker of native crafts. She has designed a special series of bead woven necklaces called “Keeper of the Fire,” which have been presented to local, state, and national leaders such as U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. “I have also designed a special line of pet collars that are very fun, they are beaded and called Jiggi collars which is a Dena’ina word meaning favored one. The collars are bright and made with rigorous play in mind,” said Swan.
The new Raven Song, Ggugguyni CD is available at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, or on line at www.bunnyswan.com . You can also find “Jiggi’s” and other crafts by Bunny Swan-Gease at her e-store on line at BunnySwan.com.
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