The Alutiiq Museum is one of the premier cultural centers in Native Alaska. From 2000 to 2013, MacArthur Foundation Fellow Sven Haakanson, while their Executive Director, led efforts at the museum like this project that incorporated traditional Native arts education into the museum’s programs.
The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is regarded as the foremost Native arts educational institution in the country. It offers four-year degrees in Studio Arts, Visual Communication, Creative Writing and Museum Studies. Funding for the Mescalero Water Tank Project supported an education-based cultural preservation project in which IAIA worked in collaboration with the Mescalero Apache community. The Institute’s staff worked with Apache youth to document nearly forgotten water tanks used by Apache “cowboys” during the area’s mid-20th century heyday of cattle ranching. Known as “cowboy graffiti”, these markings have now been preserved as artifacts.
The Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance (MIBA) is the premier basketmaking organization on the east coast, functioning as a collective and fostering the preservation of traditional basketmaking practices. In 1993 tribal baskemakers from the four federally recognized tribes in Maine (Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot) realized there were fewer than a dozen weavers younger than the age of 50 statewide amongst a tribal population of 6,000 and decided to create a pathway to teach this traditional art form.
The Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) provides cultural programming for the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people of southeast Alaska. SHI develops and implements programming for the preservation and perpetuation of Southeast Alaska’s Native arts and cultures. Primary constituencies are the approximately 22,000 Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian of the region and in the lower 48. While Alaska Natives comprise approximately 15% of Southeast Alaska’s total population, they comprise approximately 20% of the population in the region’s nine larger schools, and average 81% of the population in the region’s eight smallest school districts.