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Everyone was welcome at the 10th Annual Tribal Celebration. Chickaloon and Knik Tribes hosted 629 attendees at the Palmer State Fairgrounds on June 9.

Jesse Lynn Merculief’s cancer survivor story began at 18 —  with an abnormal pap smear. Jesse contracted HPV. The Center for Disease Control states HPV is so common that, “…nearly all sexually active men and women,” get it in their lifetime; some strains are even asymptomatic. Unfortunately, Jesse was exposed to a cancerous strain and was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

The first baby born in Alaska this New Year was delivered at the Alaska Native Medical Center shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day.

Have you heard of Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food? It details an experiment that strongly supports the theory that abandoning a Western diet in favor of one consisting of traditional foods can lead to vast improvements in your health. Last year, a group of Igiugig High School students got their hands on Pollan’s book, and after reading it, were compelled to initiate
a Native food challenge in their community.

Learning circles are opportunities for people to connect and build relationships through a variety of wellness activities.

Sept. 30 marks the end of the first phase of Southcentral Foundation’s Tribal Doctor Training Pilot Program, and the beginning of a lifelong journey for the seven participants.

Tyler Uppaaruluk Young; Tsimshian, Eagle Clan from Metlakatla and Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) from Port Graham; grew up in Anchorage and spent time in Juneau as a young adult.

From June 12 to 14, Southcentral Foundation President/CEO Dr. Katherine Gottlieb led a trip to visit the Cook Inlet villages with 22 SCF Executive Leadership Experience participants and senior directors.

Congratulations to the Alaska Native dance group Acilquq on winning the inaugural Indigedance Challenge at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. In all,  twelve teams competed for the top honor in the challenge sponsored by Southcentral Foundation. The preliminaries were held at the Nuka Learning and Wellness Center, with four teams advancing to the semi-finals at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.  The finalists danced in front of hundreds gathered on the final day of AFN.  Acilquq took home the $10,000 grand prize, the Yurapik Drummers and Dancers came in second, and the Friendship Dancers took third place. Dr. Katherine Gottlieb, SCF’s President/CEO, presented the grand prize to Aciliquq, who performed for a delegation from Aotearoa, New Zealand at the AFN banquet.

Trees fly by in a whir as the mountains rise up from the encroaching horizon, the scene is electric; conversations are charged with the beauty of the landscape as old friends connect and new friends meet.