The Montana Arts Council recently announced the state’s new poet laureate.
Yellowstone Public Radio’s Orlinda Worthington introduces us to Chris Latray, who is the state’s eleventh poet laureate and a member of a Montana tribe.
“That is hello, all of my relatives, we are all related. And that is where my inspiration comes from. The relationship we have with everything around us, human and non-human, absolutely that is it.”
Chris La Tray is a member of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa.
He says his priority as poet laureate will be getting to small, rural communities that may be overlooked when it comes to writing and poetry.
“If I had to focus on one thing, it’s to get the word to these young people that you can choose a path like mine and be successful in ways different from maybe how people tell you need to proceed.”
He says, like many of us, he grew up with the idea that poetry is just a bunch of fancy words; a misconception he hopes to change.
“You know, when I speak to kids I tell them that their story is 100% unique and there is nobody who is experiencing the world the way they are and the importance of them sharing that story through any kinds of words on the page or orally, that is important. And however you choose to frame that with words is poetry. Your life is poetry.”
You can hear a longer conversation with La Tray on Yellowstone Public Radio’s program “Resounds” .
The Barbie doll has been getting much attention with the release this summer of the Barbie movie.
In Alaska, mother Angela Gonzalez and daughter Ermelina of Anchorage, posted their doll titled “Fish Camp Barbie” on social media, which features an Athabascan Barbie doll dressed in traditional clothing.
It’s gained thousands of views.
KNOM’s Ava White reports.
The iconic slogan of Barbie, “you can be anything,” is brought to life in a culturally rich way.
In this scene, a Barbie doll proudly wears a vibrant hot pink kuspuk, complemented by a beaded necklace, stylish moosehide cuffs, and headband.
Positioned on a nearby table is a fish made from salmon skin, aligned with beadwork.
Barbie is holding an Ulu, ready to skillfully prepare the fish.
All clothing was handmade by Ermelina Gonzalez.
Angela Gonzalez’ family’s fish camp was located along the Koyukuk River, where her family frequented when she was a young girl.
She has played with Barbies since she was a little kid and says her grandmother used to make accessories for her dolls.
“All the dolls would have their little ulus, and we would have a little fish camp scene with fish racks and leaves. Leaves from willows would be our little fish.”
Angela Gonzalez explains the importance of sharing culture towards younger generations and why it’s important for Alaska Native children to feel equally represented.
“I think that it’s just good that they will be able to see themselves represented, even though it’s not for the mass market or anything like that. They can be inspired to create what they want to create, you know, if they have a different way of life, maybe they can make a fishnet or a dip net, you know, just something that that can inspire them to be able to feel like they have permission to customize something that will represent themselves.”
Barbie has a reputation for embracing numerous roles, ranging from a CEO to a gymnast, a construction worker, and now, a skilled fisherwoman at a subsistence camp.
Through the innovative creation of their own Barbie scenes, Angela and Ermelina Gonzalez have succeeded in fashioning a compelling narrative focused on culture.
Their efforts serve as an inspiring testament for young girls across various Alaska Native cultures, conveying the powerful message that they too can embody the spirit of Barbie in their unique ways.
Ermelina Gonzalez is an intern at KNBA, Koahnic’s flagship station in Anchorage.
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