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First Alaskans Institute (FAI), a statewide Alaska Native nonprofit, is working with Museums Alaska to host a cohort of museum professionals committed to reimagining and fostering meaningful relationships with Alaska’s Tribes and Indigenous peoples. FAI will host a series of interactive dialogues customized for museum professionals through methods that are grounded in Indigenous values and ways of knowing, incorporating social technologies to host provocative dialogues that advance the needs of Indigenous peoples and partners statewide. Participants will learn how to have respectful and meaningful conversations about racism, equity, stewardship, and other challenging topics that continually arise in the field.

The Program’s goal is to transform institutions that are uniquely positioned to protect culturally significant artifacts and share about the lives of Alaska Native people, past and present. Discussion topics will include repatriation, Tribal sovereignty, and access to ancestral knowledge and objects. We invite you to engage in this unique opportunity as we challenge assumptions and the ways they impact the museum institutions, our patrons and Indigenous peoples.

There are two ways to participate: engaging fully as a cohort participant, or as a webinar-only attendee.


The cohort, consisting of museum leadership - directors, program managers, and board members - will convene virtually for two 3-hour sessions over six weeks, July 19th to September 8th. All participants will commit to effecting change in their organizations by incorporating lessons learned from the cohort experience. To foster collaboration both within and between museums, each participating institution will send two people; one should be a member of management authorized to enact change within the organization and the second a member of the staff that can be a thought partner and helper to effectuate identified change.

Participation in all sessions is encouraged in order to get the most out of this program. Space is extremely limited and will be capped at 12 organizations for the cohort.

The cohort experience will kick off with two foundational two-day trainings, an Alaska Native Dialogue on Racial Equity (ANDORE) in Museums conversation and an Alaska Native Governance and Protocols (ANG&P) training. ANDORE is centered on preparing museum staff to share truths related to Indigenous peoples’ cultures and accurate histories to museum patrons, while ANG&P focuses on the understanding the layers of governance in the Alaska Native community, recognition of place, cultural diversity, geographic distinctions, and unique practices and protocols of Native peoples, with special attention given to strengthening knowledge and understanding between Alaskans, and highlighting potential opportunities to partner and engage across Alaska. The initial, foundational trainings will be required for all cohort participants.

The following six weeks will feature open-to-the-public webinars on various topics (outlined below) every Tuesday, followed by private interactive cohort discussions on Thursday. Additional reading and multimedia materials around the topics will be provided to participants. The webinars will be open for participation and recorded for those who can't attend or want to share with their staff. The interactive discussions will be a private, safe space for cohort participants to engage in deeper dialogue about the webinar topics, share experiences and identify solutions to creating organizational change.


July 19th & 21st 9am-4pm Alaska Native Dialogue on Racial Equity in Museums: A foundational two-day training centered on preparing museum staff to share the truths and histories related to Indigenous peoples. July 26th & 28th 9am-1:30pm Alaska Native Governance & Protocols training: A foundational two-day training focusing on the layers of governance of Alaska Native peoples, recognition of place, cultural diversity, and unique practices and protocols of Native peoples, to strengthen knowledge and understanding between Alaskans, and highlight opportunities to meaningfully engage with Tribes and Indigenous communities. Aug 2 • 9am-12pm Webinar Aug 4 • 9am-12pm Discussion Centering Indigenous Knowledge: Whose story are we telling? How does that impact the community and our relationships with Tribes and Native people? Aug 9 • 9am-12pm Webinar Aug 11 • 9am-12pm Discussion Native Community Engagement & Trust Building: Are Native people at the decision-making table? Why is it important to ensure Native voices are throughout decision-making? Aug 16 • 9am-12pm Webinar Aug 18 • 9am-12pm Discussion Tribal Sovereignty & Its Applicability to Museums: How are we building relationships with and honoring the sovereignty of Alaska Tribes and communities whose items we steward? Aug 23 • 9am-12pm Webinar Aug 25 • 9am-12pm Discussion The Necessity of Access to Sacred Objects – Storage vs Stewardship: Why do we store these items? Who are they for? Who owns them? Who benefits from our stewardship? Aug 30 • 9am-12pm Webinar Sep 1 • 9am-12pm Discussion Repatriation and the Treatment of Ancestors: Are Indigenous people free to practice the spiritual care of the items in our collections? What keeps us from repatriation and ceremonial use? Sep 6 • 9am-12pm Webinar Sep 8 • 9am-12pm Discussion Decolonizing Museums: Are our museums safe and welcoming for Native people to visit, or work in? How do we make space for those honest conversations? How do we intentionally create inclusive and safe environments?

If you would like to sign up for the full cohort experience, please email Dixie Clough, director of Museums Alaska, at director@museumsalaska.org with the name, email address, and titles of both participants from your organization. She will register you for all trainings, webinars, and discussions.


If you are not able to participate in the cohort, you may still attend the webinars. Webinars will be held every Tuesday, starting July 26th, for six weeks. The webinars will be free to the entire Alaska museum and cultural organization community—including volunteers and board members.

Webinars will also be made available on the Museums Alaska YouTube channel and the First Alaskans Institute YouTube Channel.


If you are unable to participate in the cohort, but would like to sign up for any of the webinars, find the registration links below. Webinars are free to all Alaska museum professionals and volunteers. For those based outside of the state, the webinars are $10 each.

As a reminder, if you would like to join the cohort, email Dixie Clough with the name, email addresses, and titles of both cohort participants from your organization. She will register you for all trainings, webinars, and discussions.

The webinar topics and links are below, and will prioritize giving voice to Indigenous people, who are not often heard on these topics.

*Schedule & topics are subject to change.

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This project is co-hosted by Museums Alaska and First Alaskans Institute and was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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