Did you know a University of Alaska Anchorage alumna now leads the only statewide cultural organization dedicated to advancing all Alaska Native cultures and traditions?
Did you know a University of Alaska Anchorage alumna now leads the only statewide cultural organization dedicated to advancing all Alaska Native cultures and traditions? Emily Edenshaw [UAA ‘12], is President and CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC), which was recently named one of “America’s Cultural Treasures,” a national initiative from the Ford Foundation. The foundation provides grants to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) arts and cultural organizations severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emily received her bachelor’s degree in communication and journalism from UAA in 2012
and went on to complete her master’s degree at Alaska Pacific University before returning
to begin a Ph.D program in Indigenous Studies at UAF. She’s now in her third year.
Emily enrolled at UAA after the loss of her husband in an accident in 2007. In searching for healing and purpose, she returned to school. Looking back, she says her time at UAA brought her back to life. “There are no words to describe how thankful I am for my time at UAA. The only way I can express my gratitude is to encourage other students to pursue higher education,” she said.
The Ford foundation grant came as a complete surprise, Emily said. “No one knew they [the Ford Foundation] were doing it, so receiving the award was a huge surprise. I’m really looking forward to working with the Ford Foundation and the other 19 cultural treasures.”
Over the next four years, ANHC will receive $3 million in general operating support to enhance and support its healing, cultural, and educational programming work, and an additional $100,000 in technical services. A grant of this size and type is an unprecedented, historic investment throughout the Alaska Native community.