February 22, 2019
Martin Apayauq Reitan is rookie to watch in 2019 Iditarod
Martin Apayauq Reitan, Inupiaq, had a formidable audience – polar bears – as he and his dog team trained in fall in Kaktovik, Alaska for the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Reitan and his father, Ketil, operate Kaktovik Tours, leading excursions out to polar bear country in Alaska’s North Slope. Tour season ended in mid-October when it started to freeze up. Then, training for the Iditarod began.
“The bears are still around so I like to go where there are less of them,” Reitan recounted to Indian Country Today via social media. “But they usually don't bother the dogs. They are flabbergasted and don't understand why 14 dogs are in a line together running in front of a side-by-side.”
As if training within sight of the top of the food chain isn’t moxie enough, Reitan is going all out in preparing for his first Iditarod. Sheep hunting in the Brooks Range with his dog team was great practice for the dogs, he said; "they crossed open streams and navigated barely visible trails and glare ice."
Reitan, 21, is one of five Alaska Native mushers in the 2019 Iditarod. Each presents a formidable challenge on a roster that features five Iditarod champions, including defending champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom. All told, there are 53 mushers and teams signed up for the race.
In Other Sporting News…
Growing up on a Navajo reservation in rural Arizona, Derrick Begay always dreamt of making it as a professional cowboy. But the idea of someone from his tribe hitting the big time seemed out of reach—though folks, including his own father, had tried to do it, no Navajo had ever managed to. After years of hard work, Begay finally succeeded, becoming one of the first Navajo cowboys to qualify for the national finals. He’s gone on to compete there six more times.
Every February, the Heard Museum hosts the World Championship Hoop Dance Contest. Accompanied by a group of musicians, dancers use their hoops to create symbols of eagles, baskets, flowers, insects, and much more in beat to the music.
The two-day event has numerous participants compete in five age divisions, ranging from those under five to those over 40 years old. The dancers are judged on their precision, rhythm, speed, showmanship, and creativity.
Young artist blends hip-hop and Tlingit heritage on big stage
Arias Hoyle has rapped along to live instruments before and played for some big shows, but Thursday night was the first time the rapper known as Air Jazz has been aired on live television.
Hoyle, a 17-year-old junior at Juneau Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé,was part of a group of Juneau artists who performed during the Governor’s Arts and Humanities Awards, which was televised on 360 North. He was excited for it.
Since the get-go Hoyle, who is half African-American, about a quarter Tlingit and a quarter Native American — mostly Blackfoot and Cherokee — has been striving to make a cultural blend that’s true to him.
“It was a way to show all my culture in one,” Hoyle said.
Despite his young age, that’s something Hoyle’s been at for a while.
He started writing raps around age 10, started learning Lingít in middle school and began making beats using Garage Band in eighth grade.
In Other Art News…
In 2015, the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) hosted Indigenous Beauty, a large show of traditional and contemporary American Indian art on loan from the Diker Collection — the very same currently on view at the Metropolitan Art Museum. The show was the result of a shifting focus at the TMA. Since its founding in 1901, the museum has collected and carried a fine cross-section of American art, Native American visual culture being conspicuous by its absence. One Native American bowl acquired in the 1940s remained in storage because there simply didn’t seem to be an appropriate context for its display. But this is about to change.
Native American flute players perform at music festivals around the world. But few belong to any Native tribe or nation. That concerns award-winning flutist Darren Thompson. He is a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in northern Wisconsin.
Thompson told VOA, "The Native American flute is the name of the instrument, so anybody who picks one up and plays it can call himself a Native American flute player."
Today’s History Lesson
Today, Alaska’s tribal health care system is owned and managed by the Alaska Native people, with objectives and innovations that are unique to the cultures, trends and geography of our state.
But this hasn’t always been the case. Ask those who worked to put Alaska Native health care in the hands of Alaska Native people and they’ll tell you there was nothing easy about getting to where the tribal health care system is now. The road to today’s health care network was long and rough. And it resulted in a system that hasn’t been duplicated anywhere else in the world.
The “Great Dying” of Indigenous people during the 15th century colonization of America caused the Earth’s climate to change, a recent study says.
The study, from a team of scientists at the University College London, was published on the science and medicine research database Science Direct. Research showed that the number of indigenous people that died impacted the Earth’s climate and caused it to cool prior to the Industrial Revolution.