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Alaska Native

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Princess Daazhraii Johnson is the creative producer for Molly of Denali, an animated children’s show that follows 10-year-old Molly Mabray, an Alaska Native girl who helps her parents run the Denali Trading Post in the fictional community of Qyah. The show, which is the first nationally distributed children’s series to feature a Native American lead character, received a Peabody Award in 2020. Can you share with me the quick story of becoming a creative producer on Molly of Denali? I initially heard of the show when they were looking for a creative producer to come on board at the pilot stage. When I saw what they were trying to do it really resonated deeply with me because I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking about issues of representation. The history between the entertainment industry and indigenous people has not been a good relationship. So I really wanted to work…

Alice Qannik Glenn is a podcaster and one of three creators of Native Time. Photo by Serine Reeves. Three Millennial Alaskans teamed up to create a new platform that aims to amplify indigenous voices and experiences. Native Time, which launched earlier this year, is the brainchild of podcaster Alice Qannik Glenn, filmmaker Howdice Brown III, and M. Jacqui Lambert, a writer and designer. The three storytellers, who all have Inupiaq heritage, gathered over beers and sketched an idea to create a shared space that could engage and connect the Native community. “We want to uplift Native voices, Native art, Native opportunities, Native educators,” Glenn says. On top of promoting diverse perspectives, Native Time is also meant to be a space that pushes the conversation forward and incites progress. Alaska Native culture may often be portrayed as something ancestral, but Native Time is about contemporary stories. “I think it’s important our…

The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics have been held in Fairbanks every year since 1961, drawing contestants from many surrounding villages. Gathering to play games and celebrate with storytelling, dancing and sharing of food is an ancient tradition of Native people of the circumpolar north that lives on today through the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. An athlete participates in the one-hand reach at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. Courtesy World Eskimo-Indian Olympics Drummers perform at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. Courtesy World Eskimo-Indian Olympics The games were designed to hone and test skills required to survive in the Arctic. The four-man carry tests the strength required to haul game, wood, or ice for long distances. The ear pull tests the endurance required to tolerate frostbite pain. The Indian stick pull tests the grip required to grab a fish by the tail, and the greased pole walk tests the balance required for crossing creeks on slippery…