The conference was the very first Native Hawaiian Writers and Literature conference. In addition to the 400+ conference attendees, it attracted over 30 Native Hawaiian published writers who participated in multiple ways including as panelists, performers, workshop presenters and moderators and keynote speakers.
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 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.