Today marks the start of Celebration 2000, the biannual event that brings Native Americans together from all over the country. Juneau is honored to be able to host this fantastic meeting where Alaska Natives get a chance to share their history and stories.
What started out in 1982 with only a handful of people has grown to an event featuring an expected 2,000 performers and more than 200 volunteers from the U.S. and Canada this year. It is by far the largest gathering to date.
The three-day event will feature dance performances, cultural workshops, a Native arts and crafts fair, canoe races and a parade. But Celebration isn't about competition, according to organizers. Instead, it's an opportunity for the various groups to share their culture through their traditional method of dance and song.
This year a memorial service was added to the program honoring the ancestors of various Pacific Northwest tribes and clans.
All of this would not be possible without support of the Sealaska Heritage Foundation, which sponsors the event. We in Juneau are fortunate that the Foundation realizes the importance of saving and restoring the significant contributions and cultural identify of Alaska Natives and holds the event here.
Events are scheduled at Centennial Hall, the ANB Hall and the National Guard Armory. The Alaska Native Arts Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day at the Armory.
For additional information concerning Celebration 2000's schedule, please check out last Sunday's paper or click on the Celebration 2000 link at Juneau Empire Online.