The Juneau Arts & Humanities Council is very honored and grateful to have been able to co-produce Aan Yátx’u Sáani: Noble People of the Land (the Juneau Histories Theatre Project) with Ping Chong + Company at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center (JACC). This project was a long time in the making, initiated in 2016, with the culminating presentations just last week.
It is thanks to the cooperation, support and encouragement of many individuals, who shared their personal stories and talents, and organizations and businesses that offered both monetary and cultural resources to bring this remarkable documentation of our community’s history to fruition. The artistic team did an amazing job of distilling hours of wonderful histories into the powerful two hours of stories shared.
The five elders who provided the personal infusion of their stories, wisdom, and insight while sharing their lives deserve our respect and gratitude. They drew an incredibly important living picture that illustrated Juneau’s evolving social landscapes, connecting past events to the challenges facing us today, and leading us to the possibilities of the future.
Making the Juneau Histories Theatre Project has only been possible because of the generosity of a host of partners. The National Endowment for the Arts provided the cornerstone grant, joined then by the Alaska Humanities Forum and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Rasmuson Foundation, and the University of Alaska Southeast. Sealaska Heritage Institute, the Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, the Juneau School District and the Kodiak School District participated in supporting the work. Working with the Juneau School District, we were able to invite all eighth graders in our community to see matinée performances of the show.
We thank our stellar media partner KTOO, who recorded the Friday evening performance. Once edited the recording will be broadcast and archived to allow all those who were unable to see Aan Yátx’u Sáani in person to enjoy this unique treasure. Broadcast is planned for May 3, and then it will be available on KTOO’s website. A web archive is also available for all to enjoy and refer to for years to come at aanyatxu.org.
On behalf of the Council, thanks to everyone for helping make this important documentation and presentation a reality. We look forward to continuing to work with all these partners on other such projects in the future, and to helping keep Juneau an arts-rich, diverse and thriving place to live where all voices are heard, where we live together in “Dikat at áka yei wuti yat’latki, atxa at/The Place that has Everything” now called “Juneau.”