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Dauenhauer named State Writer Laureate

Posted: October 11, 2012 - 12:03am

Nora Marks Dauenhauer of Juneau has been named Alaska’s State Writer Laureate. Dauenhauer will represent Alaska from 2012 to 2014.

Dauenhauer’s award was announced by the Alaska State Council on the Arts Thursday afternoon, along with seven 2012 Governor’s Awards recipients.

Dauenhauer is a highly respected writer, poet, linguist and researcher. Raised in and around Juneau in a traditional subsistence lifestyle, Dauenhauer spoke only Tlingit as a girl. She received a degree in anthropology from Alaska Methodist University, in the mid-1970s, where she met her husband, Richard Dauenhauer.

The Dauenhauers collaborative works include “Classics of Tlingit Oral Literature” series, published by Sealaska Heritage Institute, which has four volumes: “Haa Shuká, Our Ancestors: Tlingit Oral Narratives,” “Haa Tuwunáagu Yís, For Healing Our Spirit,” “Haa Kusteeyí, Our Culture: Tlingit Life Stories” and “Anooshi Lingit Aani Ka, Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804” (with Lydia Black). The works combine transcriptions of interviews and recordings of Tlingit elders with historical research. Volume four was honored with the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

Dauenhauer’s solo works include “Life Woven with Song,” as well as abundant poetry and plays. Her work has been widely anthologized. She was named Humanist of the Year by the Alaska Humanities Forum in 1980, and won a Governor’s Award for the Arts in 1989. More recently she won the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award in 2011 and the First Peoples Fund’s Community Spirit Award in 2005.

Dauenhauer’s award will officially be presented Oct. 18 in Anchorage, along with the Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

The Governor’s Award winners are:
John “Sinnaq” Sinnok, Shishmaref (Arts Education); Valley Performing Arts, Wasilla (Arts Organization); Gail Niebrugge, Palmer (Individual Artist); Susie “Qimmiqsak” Bevins-Ericsen, Anchorage (Native Arts); and four honored for Distinguished Service to the Humanities: Sven Haakanson, Jr., Executive Director Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository, Kodiak; Carol Swartz, Director Kenai Peninsula College, Kachemak Bay Campus and founding director Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, Homer; and the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Anchorage.

The awards are sponsored by the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and the Office of the Governor with generous support from ConocoPhillips Alaska and BP.

For more information, call the Alaska State Council on the Arts at 907.269.6610 or visit education.alaska.gov/aksca. You can also call the Alaska Humanities Forum at 907-272-5341 or visit akhf.org/governors-awards.

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