AFN releases agenda for 2023 convention

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) has announced the agenda for its upcoming 2023 Annual Convention, which will be held in Anchorage on Oct. 19-21 at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center.
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The convention is the largest annual gathering of Alaska Native peoples in the country and will feature a wide range of events and activities.
 
This year’s theme, “Our Ways of Life,” reflects the source of pride Alaska Native people have in their traditions and ways of life passed from one generation to the next. 

Alaska Native people and their culture is one of adaptation and innovation.

The traditional ways of life of Alaska Natives are centered around the land. Subsistence is our traditional way of living off the land that has sustained Alaska Natives for thousands of years.
 
The convention will feature a variety of presentations and panels on topics such as subsistence, education, and cultural preservation. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage and participate in discussions about the issues facing Alaska Native communities today.
 
According to AFN President Julie Kitka, this year’s convention agenda has been structured differently.

The aim was to encourage members and delegates to be active participants in the discussion of vital issues that affect their regions as the AFN Board develops its Five-Year Strategic Plan and continues to focus on continual improvements.
 
Top speakers include the Alaska Congressional delegation, Vanita Gupta (Associate Attorney General of the United States), Casey Sixkiller (Regional Administrator, U.S. EPA), U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, and many others.
 
In addition to the convention being AFN’s annual business meeting, it will also include art exhibits showcasing the rich traditions of Alaska Native peoples, a health fair, and over 100 exhibitors.

The event will culminate with the popular Quyana Alaska celebration, which brings together performers from across the state for a night of music, dance, and celebration.
 
An Alaska Native Veterans photo exhibit, in partnership with ConocoPhillips Alaska and photographer Bill Hess, will be showcased on the 3rd floor of the Dena’ina Center during the convention.

Additionally, photos from the exhibit will be displayed throughout the event.

The exhibit will be unveiled on Wednesday, October 18, and will be followed by the Alaska premiere of One With the Whale.

This documentary, filmed in Gambell, tells the story of Chris Apassingok, the youngest person in their community to harvest a whale.

Free tickets to the movie premiere can be found at https://www.eventcreate.com/e/onewiththewhale.
 
The AFN Banquet, which concludes the convention on Saturday, Oct. 21, will be hosted by Nick Hanson, who is popularly known as the ‘Eskimo Ninja Warrior’.

During the event, AFN will hold its first-ever silent auction, and the proceeds from the auction will be donated to its newly established subsistence defense fund.

The musical entertainment for the night will be provided by Martin Paul, Marc Brown & The Blues Crew.
 
“We’re excited to bring together Alaska Native peoples from all across the state to celebrate our culture and work towards a brighter future for our communities,” said AFN President Julie Kitka. “The convention will offer a unique opportunity for attendees to learn, engage, and connect with one another, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Anchorage later this month.”