----- Peksulineq Festival -----


The 2019 Peksulineq Festival will be May 6th – 10th.

What is Peksulineq?

 

The Peksulineq Festival, also called the Tatitlek Cultural Heritage Week, is an annual event hosted by the Native Village of Tatitlek that celebrates the traditional culture of the Chugach Region.  Founded in 1994, the festival takes place every May in the Native Village of Tatitlek nestled peacefully between Valdez and Cordova in Prince William Sound Alaska. In addition to cultural preservation, the goal of the Peksulineq Festival is to provide an opportunity for students, elders, and instructors to share and learn the Native arts, lifestyle, and language of the Alutiiq people.

 

Taking place through the course of seven days, youth from all around Prince William Sound attend classes that both acknowledge this heritage and teach Cultural Heritage Week values. 

 

The festival celebrates the season when spring eggs (peksuq in Alutiiq) are hatched and we have new beginnings. The celebration concludes on the seventh day with a large potluck feast of traditional Native foods and an art auction.

 

History of the Peksulineq Festival

 

The first Peksulineq Festival was held in spring, 1994. The Alutiiq village of Tatitlek, Alaska was still recovering from the Exxon Valdez oil spill. This, as well as influence from western culture and many other factors, was causing a decline in the practice and preservation of the Tatitlek Alutiiq culture.

When a student asked to learn more about Tatitlek songs and culture, Tatitlek Community School teachers, the Tatitlek IRA Council and members of the community began working together to teach the youth about their culture. The ideas grew from creating a few lessons on Alaska Native culture to something much bigger: the school would devote a week to classes that celebrate and teach the Chugach Alutiiq culture.

The first Peksulineq Festival organizers wanted an Alutiiq term that suggested spring time for the new event. Community members and elders chose the term Peksulineq, which literally translated describes the time when spring eggs are hatched, but also holds a meaning of a fresh start or new beginnings. 

Volunteer instructors, students and chaperones were invited from throughout the Chugach region to participate. From the first year onward, classes were created at three levels for primary school, middle school and high school students. This helped students learn about their culture at their own skill level.

Today, The Copper Mountain Foundation coordinates the Peksulineq Festival, with intensive support from the Tatitlek Community School, the Tatitlek IRA Council, the regional and village corporations, Chugach regional nonprofits, community volunteers, and volunteer instructors.  Each year a new emerging leader is appointed as the committee director and takes the lead in event planning and organization.  This has provided the community with a generation of new leaders who are working to not only preserve their culture, but to also practice and pass the knowledge to the next generations, the true goal of the Peksulineq Festival.