Alaska Native culture

Denakkanaaga Elders and Youth Conference

Denakkanaaga youth in Huslia in 1992
Denakkanaaga youth in Huslia in 1992

Denakkanaaga is a non-profit organization based in Fairbanks that serves as the voice for Native Elders in the Doyon and Tanana Chiefs Conference regions of Interior Alaska. The organization hosts the Denakkanaaga Elders and Youth Conference. I attended it twice as a youth delegate as a teenager.

I remember the Denakkanaaga Conferences as a time to connect with and learn from Elders from around interior Alaska. I remember the encouragement from Elders and leaders at the time. I was a youth delegate representing Evansville in the early 1990s. Leaders of the day came to the conference and spoke to delegates. I learned how to properly introduce myself to Elders. There were potlatches, dances and workshops held during the conferences. I gained leadership skills and about the importance of being a role model.

Here are some photos from two Denakkanaaga Conferences in the early 1990’s.

Elder ladies sing an Athabascan song at the Denakkanaaga Conference in Tanacross in 1991. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Elder ladies sing an Athabascan song at the Denakkanaaga Conference in Tanacross in 1991. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Elder ladies at a dance in Tok in 1991 during the Denakkanaaga Conference. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Elder ladies at a dance in Tok in 1991 during the Denakkanaaga Conference. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Attendees dance in Tanacross during the Denakkanaaga Conference in 1991. Photo by Angela Gonzalez
Attendees dance in Tanacross during the Denakkanaaga Conference in 1991. Photo by Angela Gonzalez

 

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *