Hundreds of people gathered at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage Thursday night to experience the moving sounds and colors of the first of two Quyana Nights at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention.
Alaska Native dance groups traveled from all over the state to dance and sing pieces that have been passed down from their cultures.
“We’re always happy to share the songs of our ancestors,” said Jolene John, after she got off stage with her group from Toksook Bay. “It’s a rich feeling to share the emotions with the community.”
Quyana Night was first introduced in 1982, as a way to preserve these performances and to ensure they’re remembered for years to come.
The annual tradition is still going strong 41 years later, with families packed together in the audience — chanting, cheering and singing along. Some of the dance groups even invited elders and old friends to join them on stage.
“We’re literally representing the entire state here,” John said. “Everyone’s welcoming old friends, new friends and family members, and appreciating this time together.”
Source : Alaskapublic