FRANKLYWNOW - EY2015: ‘Not in our Smokehouse’ theme hits home for youth keynot

EY2015: ‘Not in our Smokehouse’ theme hits home for youth keynote speaker

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Hundreds of Alaska Natives from around the state are gathered in Anchorage for the 2015 Elders and Youth Conference.

This year’s theme is “Not in Our Smokehouse,” a call to action to shed negativity and focus on a brighter future for Alaska’s youth.

Youth keynote speaker, 18-year-old Lacayah Engebretson, reminisced about growing up in fish camps, stocking the smokehouses with salmon for the winter.

“It takes me back to rushing rivers and dirty hands and hard work,” she said.

Engebretson said it can be difficult for youth today to understand the importance of traditional ways and the best manner in which to continue them.

“On one hand, we’re pulled to constantly upgrade and update and advance and move forward as quickly as possible in order to succeed,” she noted. “On the other hand, our traditions need to be carried on, and we’re told we’re the torch bearers and the light and the dreams of our ancestors — and it’s confusing.”

For her, a smokehouse is a place filled with love. She hopes others can also find peace there.

“I found acceptance in the dirt floor,”said Engebretson. “I found security in the walls, hope in the ceiling, strength in the poles, gratitude in the fish oil. I found a home in that little building, and no matter what, I will always run to that.”


The post EY2015: ‘Not in our Smokehouse’ theme hits home for youth keynote speaker appeared first on KTVA 11.

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