Jamie Twitchell

Jamie is a stand-out alum of a year-long Ilakucaraq cohort, a program that brings together Alaska Native youth in 9-12th grades. This program is designed to form friendships, learn and share about Indigenous cultures, and build confidence in their cultural identities. Although Jamie would never call herself this, she is a great example of an “elder-in-training.” Despite her young age, she is already sharing her Yup’ik culture with pride and embracing her Indigenous heritage.

She yuraqs (traditional dances) and has made her own traditional regalia including a qaspeq, nasqerrun (head dress), dance fans, and uyamik (dance necklace). Jamie brought this regalia on an Ilakucaraq trip and shared them with other participants. She designed and developed a uyamik craft kit so that other youth can learn about and make their own uyamiks. Jamie is helping to reclaim cultural activities suppressed by colonization and to counteract the pressure youth sometimes feel to assimilate into mainstream “western” culture. She is a role model to other youth and is contributing to keeping her culture vibrant. 

  • Home Town Kasigluk
  • School District Lower Kuskokwim School District
  • Award Category Humanitarian, Dreamer