March 06, 2007

The creators of STRONG MAN

More from Steve Nelson:Tlingit / Inupiaq writer Ishmael Hope is the son of the late Elizabeth Freda Hope from the Goodwin family in Kotzebue, and Andy Hope III, a Tlingit of the Siknax.adi clan. His Inupiaq name is Analook and his Tlingit name is Kaa Kwaask. He is of the Kiks.adi clan, of the Point House in Sitka. Ishmael has performed as a storyteller in villages and venues across Alaska and has conducted education workshops with all ages. He is founder and director of the annual Beyond Heritage festival, a celebration of contemporary and traditional Alaska Native culture, now in its sixth year. Ishmael is currently the Director of Community Outreach at Juneau's Perseverance Theatre.

Athabascan artist Dimitrios ("Dimi") Macheras was one of the first students of the Ya Ne Dah Ah tribal school when it opened in 1993. In addition to learning academics, the students were taught traditional Ahtna Athabascan songs, dances and stories. The stories, known as "Ya Ne Dah Ah," had been passed down to his grandmother, Elder of Chickaloon Village, Katherine Wade, by her grandparents. In 2003 Dimi began working at the Chickaloon Village Education Department. As part of his job, he illustrated the Athabascan legends in graphic novel form, with sales of these books helping to support the school. He has spent his 25 years crouched over countless pieces of paper, whittling down countless numbers of pencils, working to refine his illustration skills. Dimi is currently working on his next project, a monthly comic book.

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