Ikumat dancers sell raffle tickets to fund festival trip

Prizes to include an original Sylvia Lange painting, quilt, and gloves made by Diana Reidel

Members of the Cordova Ikumat Native Dance Group wait for their turn to perform during the 2016 Native Village of Eyak Sobriety Celebration in November. From left to right are Cassi Septien, Shyla Krukoff, Darlene Nichols, Holli West, Kaiden Graves, Willow Tiedeman, Lennette Ronnegard, Abbi Reilly, Samantha Villalon, Toss Barnes, Alice Graves, Ricki Reilly, Angela Butler, Brooke Johnson, Daisy Klix, Aaliyah Tiedeman, Denise Olsen, Harley Klix and Taylor Tiedeman.Photo by Reyna Newirth/For The Cordova Times

Cordova’s Ikumat Native Dancers are selling 300 raffle tickets to fund travel for several members of the group to participate in “A Time to Dance Again,” an inaugural festival at Old Harbor, on Kodiak Island, March 30 to April 2.

The tickets can be purchased for $25 apiece or five for $100.

Brooke Johnson, Angela Butler, Shyla Krukoff, Myra Eleshansky, Holly West, Alice Graves, Aaliyah Tiedeman, Taylor Tiedeman, Willow Tiedeman, Harley Klix and Daisy Klix are the dancers scheduled to make the trip, along with two Native Village of Eyak tribal elders, who have yet to be chosen.

Prizes are an original, “Salmon Painting,” by local artist Sylvia Lange, purses by Copper River Fleece, a quilt handmade by the Cordova Northwind Quilters’ Guild, a Roku-3 donated by Cordova Telephone Cooperative, leather gloves with sea otter trim handmade by Diana Reidel, and eight hours of labor provided by Nick Tiedeman.

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“All of us have tickets. We are drawing six winners on Monday, March 13,” said Brooke Johnson, the dance group’s leader and director of the Native Village of Eyak’s Ilanka Cultural Center and Museum.
Johnson estimates that travel expenses for the 11 dancers will run to about $750 apiece.

“The Cordova Ikumat Dance Group started 20 years ago, as a Native youth dance group,” Johnson said. “It has since expanded to include adult dance members.”

Many other Alaska Native dance groups are scheduled to be at the Old Harbor event, including the Nuniaq Alutiiq Dancers, of Old Harbor; Imam Caniani Agnguartet Dancers, Port Lions; Sun’aq Alutiiq Dancers, Kodiak; Uusenkaaq Youth Dancers, Ouzinkie; Tatitlek Culture Program, Tatitlek; Kasukuak Alutiiq Dancers, Akhiok; Uyaqsaq Youth Group, Larsen Bay; Seven Buffalo Drummers, Anchorage; and Imamsuat Group, also from Anchorage.

“A Time to Dance Again,” sponsored by the Old Harbor Alliance and the CIRI Foundation, will include traditional and contemporary Alutiiq dance workshops and celebrations.

The festival’s goal is to promote the arts, language, history, and traditions of Sugpiaq dancing through intergenerational collaboration. A traditional foods potlatch will be shared during the event, and there will be an evening of traditional dancing.

The Cordova Ikumat Dance Group is open to the public, but children younger than 7-years-old must be accompanied by an adult caregiver.

Contact Johnson at 424-7903, at the Ilanka Cultural Center, for more information.

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at cgibbens-stimson@thecordovatimes.com or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.