Ernestine Hayes receives distinguished artist award

Former Alaska State Writer Laureate Ernestine Saankalaxt Hayes has been honored with the Rasmuson Foundation’s 2021 Distinguished Artist Award for her creative work.

A retired professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast, Hayes received her Master of Fine Art in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has made major contributions to the field of Alaska Native studies and creative writing, the Rasmusen Foundation said.

Two of her best-known publications are “Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir,” and “The Tao of Raven: An Alaska Native Memoir.” The $40,000 award, which was announced previously, celebrates her many achievements.

Also announced on Wednesday, Sept. 15 by the Rasmuson Foundation were 10 fellowships of $18,000 and 25 project awards of $7,500. Recipients were selected from nearly 300 applicants by a national panel of artists and creative community leaders from outside of Alaska.

The Rasmuson Foundation has been recognizing exceptional Alaska artists with individual grant awards since 2004. To date the program has made 588 grants to individual Alaska artists, including 416 project awards, 154 fellowships and 18 distinguished artist awards totaling nearly $5.6 million.