In May 2011, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, Alaska State Council on the Arts, and Anchorage Museum hosted a workshop to highlight a key implement of Arctic survival -- the sinew-webbed snowshoe. Koyukon Athabascan master artists George Albert and Butch Yaska built snowshoes in several traditional styles while teaching the intricate construction process to apprentices from their communities. Gwich'in Athabascan culture-bearer Trimble Gilbert discussed the art in his Native language, documenting the rich vocabulary and traditional knowledge that surround this focal item of Athabascan culture. Museum visitors observed the work in progress, and nearly 200 students and teachers from the Anchorage School District took part in educational tours to meet the artists and learn about Athabascan culture. Sponsors for this program included the National Endowment for the Arts and the Smithsonian Institution's Recovering Voices program.For more information, go to http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/html/alaska.htm. To visit the exhibition website, go to http://alaska.si.edu.
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