A variety of Alaska Native arts and crafts will be on display for sale Friday at the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Old Town Kenai. (Courtesy Kenaitze Indian Tribe)

A variety of Alaska Native arts and crafts will be on display for sale Friday at the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Old Town Kenai. (Courtesy Kenaitze Indian Tribe)

A unique way to spend your PFD: Native Arts and Crafts show slated for Friday

It’s once again time for the annual injection of oil profits into the Alaska economy, colloquially known around the state as PFD Day. On Oct. 4, every Alaskan resident who signed up for the 2018 PFD received their $1,600 payment.

Those looking to spend their surplus cash have a variety of outlets to do so, including the Dena’ina Wellness Center Native arts and crafts show on Friday.

The monthly Native Art and Crafts sale, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, typically occurs on the first Friday of each month, but Tawna Duncan, a Wellness Supervisor with Kenaitze, said pushing the event back a week in October will allow local art appreciators to spend their 2018 Permanent Fund Dividend on a worthwhile cause.

Local Kenaitze members have produced fine crafts such as beaded jewelry, sea otter hats and gloves, and the traditional outerwear worn by Alaska Natives known as kuspuks.

“This event (features) all Alaska Natives who hand make their arts and crafts,” Duncan said. “It’s quite a large event.”

Other art pieces include handmade bags, embroidery displays and traditional clothing pieces of the Dena’ina culture.

Duncan said the quantity of featured products are largely dependant on the length of the fishing and hunting season.

“The array of artwork that comes through is phenomenal,” she said. “We’ve seen some phenomenal art that comes from seals and otters, and every piece of artwork is something that’s done historically, and something they’ve learned from their grandparents.”

Duncan added that the hard work of the Kenaitze tribe on display at the show spotlights the great traditions and values of the Dena’ina culture.

“It’s something we’ve worked hard at establishing,” she said. “We hold it on monthly basis as a way to support our local artists and to support carrying on the traditions of art. It’s an important part of the culture and tradition, and we like to open it up for people.”

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