Ida’Ina Friendship Gathering at Fur Rondy

A dance group performs at the 2018 Ida’Ina Friendship Gathering. The Tebughna Foundation invited diverse groups of performers to be a part of this annual event. Photo: C. Odden

The Ida’Ina Friendship Gathering debuted in the spring of 2011 to bring friends together and celebrate all cultures. The Tebughna Foundation has been the driving force behind this event, collaborating with a variety of community organizations and demonstrating their commitment to inclusivity. This year, the Tebughna Foundation has partnered with Fur Rondy, and the Ida’Ina Friendship Gathering is now an official event during Anchorage’s winter festival.

More than 2,000 people attended the Ida’Ina Friendship Gathering, which was held at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center on March 3. Ronnie Preston, from Milwaukee, made a repeat visit to the gathering and wowed the crowd with his high-energy hoop dance performance. Southcentral Foundation’s own Princess Warriors performed their inspirational dance to original music by Jonathan Maracle and Broken Walls, “Rise Up Mighty Warrior.” Other performers included Alaska Native dance groups such as Ida’Ina K’eljeshna Dancers and Kisagvigmiut Traditional Dancers, along with many more fantastic groups. Other highlights were the Tomodachi Japanese Drummers, whose performance was equally as exciting as the groups who shared the stage.

Emil McCord, executive director of the Tebughna Foundation, encourages people to attend and perform during the annual gathering, “All are welcome to participate. We gather to celebrate making new friends and celebrate seeing old friends.”
Along with the live music and dance performances, the event hosted arts and crafts booths, and a winter carnival dance in the evening.

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by Tara Carey

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