CIHA Story Gathering

Organization and community: Cook Inlet Housing Authority (Anchorage, AK)

Storytelling from Cook Inlet Housing on Vimeo.

Cook Inlet Housing Authority’s storytelling collaboration with Ping Chong + Company solidified that the organization was making a serious commitment to the Dena’ina (Alaska Natives of the Cook Inlet region) oral tradition of storytelling, and its importance in the culture of Anchorage and Alaska. Through the project, staff members learned how to both collect stories and conduct storytelling as a part of a shift in their organizational culture. Through a new podcast, the organization is going to be sharing some of the stories that they've been collecting from Cook Inlet residents.

In 2018, Cook Inlet Housing Authority co-sponsored (with Bunnell Street Art Center and the Anchorage Concert Association) the production of ALAXSXA|ALASKA, an immersive cross-cultural production for a wide audience that toured large and small communities statewide. The performance weaved puppetry, video, recorded interviews, and yuraq (Yup'ik drum and dance) into a collage of contemporary and historical encounters between Alaska Native communities and newcomers to the state. Rehearsals and a performance were held at the Church of Love during the Alaska Federation of Natives’ 2018 Elders and Youth Conference, followed by a post-show conversation for the Cook Inlet Housing Authority to engage the audience and promote better understanding and community building.