The Kenaitze Indian Tribe's Chuda Kuya drum and Jabila'ina dance groups have been invited to perform at the 18th Arctic Winter Games being held in Wood Buffalo, Alberta, Canada, in February.
"We're still in shock," said Amber Glenzel, cultural heritage director for the tribe. "We're so excited to be representing Alaska's team."
The groups will perform five to eight times during the week the games are held.
The Kenaitze groups will be Team Alaska's cultural performers, a prestigious honor since they are the only groups in the state to have been requested, despite numerous possibilities that were reviewed.
"They came highly recommended," said Sondra Porter, cultural liaison for the group responsible for selecting Team Alaska performers.
"We checked several groups around the state, but this group was just so positive and enthusiastic."
Porter said in the past, cultural performers at the games have come from as far as Barrow to the North and the Aleutians to the South.
"We're excited to see the uniqueness that the Kenaitze group will bring, since they have never been showcased at the games before," Porter said. "It also sets the stage for the 2006 games ... . Hopefully, the Kenaitzes can serve as a core for those games since they'll already have the experience."
Team Alaska has been awarded a grant and funds will be divvied up among athletes and performers, Porter said.
However, the funds will not cover the entire cost of all those traveling to the games, so the Kenaitze tribe must also provide its own funding for some of the performers.
The cost is roughly $700 per person, and that may limit the number of people able to attend, Glenzel said.
"We're probably looking at taking eight to 10 kids, so we're looking at kids who can do both (dance and drum)," she said.
Glenzel added that fund-raising will begin soon to start building the capital to send the Chuda Kuya and Jabila'ina groups to the games.
Chuda Kuya is a Dena'ina word that translates to "rainbow people," because the group is made up of so many different people, Glenzel said. The name was given to the group by the late elder Peter Kalifornsky, who made significant contributions to keeping the Dena'ina language alive. He was author of the book "K'tl'egh'i Sukdu A Dena'ina Legacy."
Jabila'ina is a Dena'ina word that translates to "grandmother's child." It was given to the dance group by Fiocla Wilson, one of the tribe's oldest living females who still speaks the language.
Due to a reporters error, the story in Sundays Peninsula Clarion about the Kenaitze groups that will perform at the Arctic Winter Games contained incorrect information.
Chuda Cuya, which was misspelled, is a Denaina word that translates to grandmothers child. It was given to the dance group by Fiocla Wilson, one of the tribes oldest living females who still speaks the language.
Jabilaina is a Denaina word that translates to rainbow people, because the group is made up of so many different tribes. The name was given to the group by the late elder Peter Kalifornsky, who made significant contributions to keeping the Denaina language alive. He was author of the book Ktleghi Sukdu A Denaina Legacy.
The Clarion regrets the errors.
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