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Cultural Department

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Ilanka ICC Mission

Ilanka, a gathering place to promote the diverse indigenous presence in our community. 

Ilanka, to educate our people, our community and our visitors while perpetuating the traditions, skills and cultures inherent in our lives as we face today and the future. 

Ilanka Cultural Center
Museum & Giftshop

For 10,000 years, our people have depended upon the rich ecosystems of Prince William Sound and the Copper River Delta.  The land and waters are the source of our traditions.  A place with mild climate, rich waters and abundant food sources made our traditional homeland a natural meeting place of diverse Alaska Native people.  

Our customs have survived thousands of years on this cultural landscape where we hunt, fish and gather to feed our families.  We create traditional clothing from the furs of the animals we hunt like the sea otter and harbor seal.  We weave the beach grass and spruce roots we gather. 

In May 2004, the Ilanka Cultural Center opened its doors to foster the well-being of our Alaska Native cultures in the face of modern times, and to encourage people from all ethnic backgrounds to explore our traditions.  We are located at 110 Nicholoff Way in Cordova, Alaska in the same facility as the Native Village of Eyak main offices. 

The Ilanka Cultural Center honors the heritage and culture of the EyakSugpiat, Tlingit and Ahtna peoples.  We are dedicated to the revival and preservation of Alaska Native artwork and skills for futuregenerations  Ilanka is the Sugpiaq word for “family”, and we are pleased to share our heritage with you – our food, languages, art, regalia, songs and dances. 

Location & Hours

ILANKA CULTURAL CENTER

P.O. Box 322
110 Nicholoff Way
Cordova

907-424-7903 

culture@eyak-nsn.gov

HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday through Friday
10:00am
to 5:00pm 

Ilanka Cultural Center Museum

The Ilanka Cultural Center Museum preserves and exhibits a collection of prehistoric, historic and contemporary tribal artifacts focused on the Prince William Sound and Copper River Delta.   

Installations

In July 2000, an Orca whale became stranded and died at Hartney Bay in Cordova.  A community effort salvaged his bones and sank them in crab pots to get cleaned up by the sea.  In October 2001, Mark King, Allen Marquette and Lee Post coordinated the re-articulation of the skeleton with volunteers from the Native Village of Eyak, Prince William Sound Science Center and Cordova community members.  The completed male skeleton hangs in Ilanka’s lobby and was only the 5th completed Orca skeleton in the world. 

Gift Shop

The Ilanka Cultural Center Gift Shop was created in 2004 to act as a Native marketplace to better the lives of the Native Village of Eyak community. The gift shop will create a space for Native vendors, primarily local to Alaska, to showcase and sell their items. This entrepreneurial opportunity for the Native Village of Eyak supports the Ilanka Cultural Center’s mission of preserving and promoting our native culture, heritage and history.

Our Gift Shop carries both locally made artwork as well as from other artists around the state, which include handcrafts, beaded and copper jewelry, fur teddy bears, ivory carvings, photographs, cards, salves sweatshirts, books and mugs.

Tribal Library

The Native Village of Eyak Tribal Library is located within the Ilanka Cultural Center.  Our reference library is cataloged and searchable within the Cordova Public Library system and provides a space to read some books that offer a lot of interest to our tribal community. 

Ilanka Cultural Center
Annual Events

The Ilanka Cultural Center holds several annual cultural events focused on subsistence activities and cultural heritage.   

Beginning in January 2018, the Ilanka Cultural Center began to have an annual membership drive dinner and show.  The dinner consists of a traditional foods menu and each year has offered a different show.  In 2020 we highlighted 5 of our tribal member artists to share their story.  The dinner tickets are $25 and include your membership to the Ilanka Cultural Center for the entire calendar year, as well as the dinner and show. 

In 2013 the Native Village of Eyak and Mt Eccles Elementary School banded together with many volunteers and put on the first Mt Eccles Culture Week where students K-6 spend every afternoon for a week learning native dance, language, native youth olympics, traditional ways and a native craft.  On the Friday afternoon there is a community traditional foods potluck with a showcasing of the work all the students have done.  In 2016, this became a yearly event the first week of October 

For over 20 years the Native Village of Eyak has participated in an Educational Fisheries program offered by the State of Alaska.  This allows us to have some of our fishermen take some of our youth out fishing, and we have the opportunity to show our youth how to catch, clean and process salmon when not everyone has a chance.  As early as we can offer it in May, we host a First Fish Dinner for NVE Tribal Members and community, as a potluck to celebrate the returning salmon that we all depend on.  If you have any questions about the Educational Fisheries Program or First Fish Dinner, please contact ashley.fox@eyak-nsn.gov 

In 2019 the Native Village of Eyak was able to take the opportunity to bring out 40 tribal members, in family groups, to Nuuciq Island to spend 5 days together, taking advantage of time away from technology to work on subsistence activities like hunting, fishing and gathering.  Many of the family members had never been able to spend time at Nuuciqand NVE was able to rent Chugach Alaska Corporation’s facilities at the traditional village site.  Planning for this trip begins in early spring, and advertising for family participating happens in May/June.  If you have any questions about the Katuwaq Healthy Family Retreat, please contact brooke@eyak-nsn.gov 

Ilanka Cultural Center
Classes

The Ilanka Cultural Center conducts regular classes to teach the Eyak and Sugcestun languages, as well as other cultural classes.

In Fall 2020 Weekly Eyak Language Classes became available both in person in Cordova as well as on skype.   If you are interested in learning the Eyak Language, please email angela.butler@eyak-nsn.gov for the weekly skype invite or more information.    

www.eyakpeople.com 

www.eyak.org 

In Fall 2020 Weekly Sugcestun Language Classes became available both in person in Cordova as well as on skype.   If you are interested in learning the Sugcestun Language, please email brooke@eyak-nsn.gov or shyla.krukoff@eyak-nsn.gov for the weekly skype invite or more information.    

https://www.memrise.com/course/1431185/sugtstun-for-beginners/ 

Each year the Ilanka Cultural Center offers classes to our ICC Members.  Within this past year we have had a class to make traditional qaqat (kayaks), paddles, masks, kuspuksravenstail weaving, caribou tufting, mukluks, mittens, beaded glass balls and more.  New classes are always being planned and suggestions are always welcome.  If you are interested in teaching a class or becoming an ICC Member to get on the list to be able to take a class, please contact teal.hansen@eyak-nsn.gov or danaya.hoover@eyak-nsn.gov. 

Ilanka Cultural Center

Cultural

The Ilanka Cultural Center supports various cultural activities, including the Native Youth Olympics, education scholarships and subsistence activities.

For over 20 years the Native Village of Eyak has sponsored an NYO team, and more recently a JNYO team of local Cordovan students.  The NYO events are based on games past generations of Alaska Native people played as a way to test their hunting and survival skills, increase strength and maintain endurance, agility and the balance of mind and body.  The JNYO Competition is held in February each year, and the NYO Games in April.  

The Native Village of Eyak consistently places education as a high priority and emphasizes the importance of increasing the number of students entering and completing postsecondary educational programs.  To this purpose, the Scholarship Program was established to provide scholarship funds to eligible tribal members who wish to further their education. 

To apply for an educational or vocational scholarship you must be an NVE Tribal Member and be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a postsecondary educational institution.  If you have questions on due dates or requirements for the NVE Scholarship please email: teal.hansen@eyak-nsn.gov. 

Download the NVE Scholarship application. 

For over 10,000 years, traditional food has connected our people with the land and sea through cultural rights and traditional practices that have been passed down through the generations.  Our tribal members continue to define themselves by the customs and traditions in gathering, processing and distributing wild resources.  The sharing of these cultural traditions and laws are an essential element of our subsistence practices. To this purpose, the NVE Customary & Traditional Harvesting Program was established to help provide access to our traditional foods to our tribal members.  The overarching element of this program is sharing, all participants will be required to share a portion of their harvest with the Village for the purpose of distribution to those who cannot hunt, fish and gather our foods and supplies.  If you have any questions about our Traditional Harvesting and Gathering Program please contact ashley.fox@eyak-nsn.gov