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Aleesha

 

Camai,

Fall always marks a time of settling down and getting back into routines after a summer of activities. This summer was particularly busy as the Bristol Bay Foundation (BBF) co-hosted three culture camps in the region with the communities of Togiak, Naknek, and Port Heiden. We also continue to partner with Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) for its high-school-aged camp. Why are we investing in camps?

This latest effort is part of our Bristol Bay Teaching & Learning Collaborative (BBTLC), which is a large-scale project funded through the Department of Education. One component of the grant has funded community-based camps in Bristol Bay as a place for us to gather, learn, and practice our culture together, while introducing new teachers in the region to our Native way of life.

We are learning as we go, and so far, it has been very rewarding. In Togiak, for example, we were impressed by the camp attendees’ enthusiasm for song, dance, and our Native languages. They were respectful to Elders who came to teach them and listened attentively to the lessons shared. We also laughed and played lots of games! In partnership with the Alaska Humanities Forum, new Bristol Bay teachers participated in camp and learned valuable information as they prepared for a new school year. We are already excited for next summer’s camps and to evaluate the impact of this type of activity, which we hope can be sustained long-term. You can learn more about the project at bristolbayfoundation.org/bbtlc.

Quyanaa, chin’an, quyana, and thank you for your continued support. We wish you a great fall!

Aleesha Towns-Bain
Bristol Bay Foundation Executive Director

Education Program Updates

BBF will open the Higher Education (HE) 2024-25 academic year application in early December 2023. HE scholarships support students seeking post-secondary degrees, including associate, bachelor, and graduate programs.

The Career-Focused Vocational Education (CFVE) program is designed to help BBNC shareholders and descendants achieve their career goals with specialized training in various fields such as aviation, maritime, construction, information technology, dental health, cosmetology licensing, and more. This program offers scholarships for approved courses, enabling students to pursue rewarding careers in these industries. The deadline to apply for the next session is Friday, December 1, 2023.

To apply, log in or sign-up for myBBNC portal at myBBNC.net, click on the “Benefits” tab, and then click on “Bristol Bay Foundation.” If you have any questions, contact BBF at bbf@bristolbayfoundation.org or (907) 265-7810.

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Cultural Heritage Program

We are delighted to share exciting news about the Cultural Heritage Program! This year, BBF, with support from the Alaska Native Education (ANE) program Grant and our partners, worked to enhance student success. A crucial component of this initiative involved organizing community-based culture camps to revitalize and expand the cultural education infrastructure in our region while preserving our heritage for future generations. We know there are wonderful efforts in our communities and wanted to build on the work that is being done to help make cultural activities more accessible to everyone.

Naknek

This summer, BBF collaborated with the Traditional Village of Togiak and Togiak School, Naknek Village Council and Bristol Bay Borough School District, as well as the Native Village of Port Heiden and Lake & Peninsula School District, to host three community-based culture camps in Togiak, Naknek, and Port Heiden. These camps provided an opportunity for both youth and community members to engage in a diverse range of cultural activities related to our Bristol Bay cultures. These camps also provided an invaluable opportunity to welcome new educators to the Bristol Bay region. The program also aims to enhance the cultural competence of educators within our four school districts, fostering more inclusive classroom practices that resonate with our region’s cultural heritage.

Port Heiden

We are looking forward to hosting two culture camps next summer, continuing our journey to strengthen our cultural education, and celebrating the cultures of Bristol Bay. With the generous support of the ANE program grant and the dedication of our partners and community members, the Cultural Heritage Program celebrates our vibrant and culturally enriched Bristol Bay Communities.

Neqa on the Nushagak

From June 17-20, BBF hosted the Neqa on the Nushagak fundraiser. We raised an impressive amount of $276,400, with $250,000 raised in cash (our highest yet!) and $26,400 from in-kind donations. This year’s event focused on professional networking, rather than competitive fishing, which was eliminated. We are extremely grateful for the support of our sponsors, donors, and all the attendees who made this success possible. Key sponsors included Weidner Apartment Homes, GCI, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and Dorsey & Whitney. For more information about Neqa on the Nushagak, visit neqaonthenushagak.org.

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2023 Fall Raffle

Once again, BBF will host its annual fall raffle drawing! Last year, we raised more than $30,000 through this community effort.

This year’s prizes include packages around subsistence and harvesting. Tickets are $20 a ticket or $100 for six tickets and can be purchased at BBNC events, as well as through community volunteers, or contacting BBF staff directly at bristolbayfoundation.org or (907) 265-7810.

Winners will be drawn at the 2023 BBNC Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Saturday, October 7, 2023 in Dillingham. Stay tuned for more information! (Need not be present to win, permit #1869).

Quyanaa, Chin’an, Quyana, and Thank You Donors and Contributors!

We would like to thank the many corporate business, foundation partners, and donors who have supported our mission during the past year for the past few months. These generous gifts make it possible for BBF students to reach and attain their education goals and support our cultural heritage work in Bristol Bay and beyond. We would like to thank the following for supporting our culture camp efforts through financial and in-kind contributions:

Alaska Commercial Company (Togiak)

Alaska Community Foundation

Alaska Native Education Program

Bristol Bay Borough School District

Bristol Bay Native Corporation Land Department

Dr. Kristen Barnett of University of British Columbia

Evelyn Yanez with Yuuciput Preservation

Lake & Peninsula School District

Naknek Village Council

Native Village of Port Heiden

Southwest Region School District

Togiak School

Traditional Village of Togiak

To donate to BBF, visit BBF’s contribution webpage and click the “DONATE NOW!” button. You can make a single gift or sign up for a recurring donation.

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