Bryan Mutkoyuk Jr., Michael Dirks and Guy Tuzroyluk play the drums as part of a performance on Thursday by the Iñugialiŋmiut Dance Group of Tikiġaq. The dance group from Point Hope was one of many that performed at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
The largest Alaska Native organization gathered this week in Anchorage, filling the downtown Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center with meetings, speeches by high-ranking federal dignitaries like Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, dance performances, an arts and crafts fair and impromptu hallway reunions.
The occasion was the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention, typically the largest annual gathering in Alaska.
Major Native organizations have dropped out of the federation in recent years. Those groups include the Arctic Slope Regional Corp., the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, the Tanana Chiefs Conference and the Aleut Corp.
Still, the convention was packed, with attendees who included some members of organizations that are no longer part of the federation. Also packed were events that immediately preceded the convention, including the annual Elders and Youth Conference held by the First Alaskans Institute and a daylong Tribal conference hosted by the Tanana Chiefs Conference.
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