President Barack Obama watched a traditional Yup’ik dance group perform four dances at Middle School in Dillingham, Alaska on Sept. 2, 2015. Obama first watched the performance, then got up and danced with the group. "I've been practicing," he said.The president was in Alaska on the last day of a three-day trip to discuss climate change and problems facing rural Alaska, including high energy costs.Read more: President Obama visits AlaskaWatch this video on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
President Barack Obama received a warm welcome for his speech in the Kotzebue high school gym on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015.Millie Hawley, president of the tribal government in Kivalina, introduced Obama before he appeared in the gym, a symbolic gesture that Hawley said was "exhilarating." "It means to me he's paying attention to the issues around climate change," she said. "With the things he heard from his team and other tribal leaders it shows that he's listening to our concerns and is addressing them and that gives me a lot of hope."Read more: Live blog, day 3
An imaginative jumble covers display walls in the Irwin Exhibits building at the Alaska State Fair.This year the Creative Arts and Crafts exhibit organizers added one more division of competition. The Embellished Arts category allows people to create works incorporating prefabricated items. From cultural crafts to woodworking to graphic and quilted arts, any sculpted or etched material you can conceive of is probably there. The only limitation is the artist’s vision.Organizers declared the expansion a success because it helps both young and old try to win a ribbon.
As Dillingham prepared for a Wednesday visit from President Barack Obama, talk of salmon -- and the proposed Pebble Mine -- dominated conversations in the Bristol Bay fishing community. "I feel like salmon are the reason we are here," said Cody Lawson. "It really is of national importance."Obama will meet with local fishermen at Kanakanak Beach. He'll also see a cultural performance at a school before flying to Kotzebue later in the day.Read more: Dillingham opens up to presidential team with dinners, signs and thanks for stance on Pebble mineWatch this video on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more great videos. Contact Tara Young at tara(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Subsistence salmon fishing is winding down for the season in Northwest Alaska. Forty-four-year Kotzebue resident Lance Kramer scrambles to finish putting up fish before he moves on to other tasks, such as seeing President Obama breeze through town on Sept. 2.While Kotzebue might not be as well-known as its northern neighbors Nome and Barrow, it’s a fitting stop for a president trying to promote a balanced approach by allowing offshore oil development and trying to stem climate change. The region has experienced problems attributed to climate change firsthand -- as well as the industrial opportunities presented by melting ice. “The big question is about industry and subsistence -- how can you have both without hurting the other?” said Kramer late Monday along Kotzebue’s pebbly beach front as he filleted a dozen or so chum salmon with an ulu knife. “We have to have development, but subsistence is the most important thing.” Kramer, the senior director of lands for the NANA Regional Corporation who also appears on National Geographic’s "Yukon River Run," said subsistence is paramount. He’s not happy that the Obama administration allowed Shell to drill this summer because the oil company hasn't proven it can clean oil from ice. Still, he’s glad the president is addressing climate change. “Alaska is the last great place to get this right. If we screw this up, everyone loses,” he said. Read more: Kotzebue polishes up, preparing for Obama and an uncertain future
The Northern Lights Dancers on Tuesday entertained 300 residents, visitors and advance crew who were in the Arctic Alaska community of Kotzebue ahead of President Barack Obama's planned visit the following day.The evening at the local high school began with a village potlatch and moved onto a Native Youth Olympics demonstration. The event was capped with drumming and dancing.The official name for the dance group is the Qikiqtagruq Northern Lights Dancers. The dancers celebrate their ancestry, made up of many dancers from all over the region -- villages like Kotzebue, Kivalina, Point Hope, Point Lay, Wainwright and Barrow.