Allison Akootchook Warden

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Allison Akootchook Warden

I am an Artist. I am a 2019 recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship in Traditional Arts. In 2018, I was awarded a Rasmuson Individual Artist Fellowship in New Genre. I am thinking the name of the genre is: Iḷuqavsi nakuuqsisitchi avanmun! It translates as "Everybody heal yourselves!" in Iñupiaq. I live in this world as an Iñupiaq woman, and I see connections, I see artistic possibilities. I see patterns in the world, I connect to the collective psyche and I reflect on the world in a way that I feel my Ancestors would if they found themselves in 2019. I am my Ancestral representative in 2020, and I translate the world through my bloodline and then come up with a cohesive idea to address what I see. I then look to different artistic genres to support the idea, like tools in my qanitchaq (shed). I care deeply about my fellow human beings and I feel a responsibility to bring an Iñupiaq perspective and worldview to the largest possible artistic stage.

Also in 2018, I received a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Fellowship in the field of Music. As I am writing this, I am working to honor my NACF Artist Fellowship, on an artistic residency in Seattle. I incorporate performance art techniques and also theatrical techniques into my musical performances. My musical performances serve to help the audience have a spiritual and healing release, a transformational experience.
I perform each time to give to the audience a performance of a lifetime, my way of honoring all of the musical performers that have been on the stage before me.

I am connected to my traditions, my language, my culture, my community. I am an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe, the Iñupiaq Native Village of Kaktovik. I consider Kaktovik home, even though I have only lived there for very short periods of time. I belong there, I belong to the earth, to the people there. I grew up in Fairbanks, yet travelled to Kaktovik since I was a baby, and my Mom lived there for quite a bit of her life. The village also would land in Fairbanks, and there was a strong Iñupiaq community in Fairbanks, connected to one another and connected to the Arctic at the same time. I grew up going out on the land, having a relationship to the land, in the Arctic and also Fairbanks.

Reminds me of being about eight years old. There was a trail, alongside the road lining our trailer court community. I was determined to carve out steps on the side of the trail, into the earth. Each day, I would return to the same spot of the earth, meticulously digging holds, as steps, going up. Going up, going up. Each step took a concerted amount of effort. I ended up digging steps going up an entire dirt wall, most likely ten steps total. This gave me a short cut from the mailboxes, allowing me to climb up to get back on the hidden trail.

Seeds of who I am today, planted throughout my childhood. Still creating holds.