I won't even be able to touch all the photos I took from this trip but I HAVE to get some up on here. My wonderful husband when on this trip with me and it was an AWESOME TRIP for sure!
My beautiful and talented cousin was getting married in her homeland a bah-zillion miles from civilization and thought it would be a great opp for a big- o party! They gave everyone a year's notice so they could plan and save for the trip to Alaska. Going to Eagle was going to be "roughing it" for many of us, but a chance to really relax and have some fun. No cell phones, no computers, [no indoor toilets], ha ha! 80+ miles from the nearest town and a paved road. Located right on the Yukon River just a few miles from the Canadian border. It was great!
My hubby and I rented a mini van and slept in the back of it; some were in rented RVs, some tented it. Everyone there seemingly was having a blast! All thanks to Shyanne and Aaron who wanted to connect with their Athabascan roots and make their union where both Shy was raised as well as where her mother is now buried.
|A real glacier!|
|Our caravan buddies|
|Eagle, AK right on the Yukon River just miles from Canada|
|The toilets for the wedding - the view was the Yukon River - something very freeing about using a toilet like this while looking out at the river!|
|Me & My Hubbs about 60 miles from Eagle|
Getting back to Shyanne and Aaron's Athabascan roots; many of the pieces in their wedding connected back to their own cultural traditions - from a hand made wedding dress, moccasins, beaded jewelry, and more. Both Shyanne and Aaron are part Athabascan but 100% proud of their native culture and 100% motivated to restore some of their culture's depleted identity. (more on that at the end of this post)
The Bandolier was made by his friend Donita Slawson from Tyonek and Sarah Dick. "Donita is the one who came up with the idea that since I was representing our people at various functions, that I should have something that would stand out and make people take notice. Traditionally these bandoliers were worn primarily by Dena'ina (de-nine-ah) qeshqa (rich men) and were worn on special occasions as a sign of status and rank. Donita feels strongly that we need to revive our traditions and that this bandolier is a statement of both our Dena'ina past but also our future as a people." ~Aaron Leggett.
Aaron is a Special Exhibits Curator at the Dena'inaq' Huch'ulyeshi: The Dena'ina Way of Life; Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. He is also involved in helping to create public awareness of the Dena'ina people.
The Bride: Shyanne's dress and wedding slippers were made out of white elkhide with beadwork and dentalium shell* tassles. This most beautiful dress was hand made by Shyanne's Great Aunt Adeline Juneby Potts. The feather in Shanne's hair is from an Eagle, used in many Native American ceremonies and given to her by her cousin Jody . Her hair was done by her beautiful sister Shawna.
The Flower Girl: Nazhrae (Shyanne's niece) wore a hand made elkhide dress with porcupine quill work made by Shyanne's gifted cousin Jody Potts. Her moccasins were on loan from her cousin Quannah Potts. She carried her flower petals in a Birchbark basket.
The ring pillow was handmade by Sugpiaq artist, Lalla Williams.
The Man of Honor, Brian; Sean (one of the ring bearers); and Aaron all wore around their neck Chief Necklaces made of Dentalium shells. Shyanne hand made Sean's.
*Dentalium shells were traded up the northwest coast from Canada. Among Athabaskan people they are a sign of status since they had to trade large quantities of fur to procure a modest number of these shells.
|Brian - The Man of Honor|
About Shyanne, my beautiful and tallented cousin and also the Bride. Shyanne is the Host and Producer of the national radio show Earthsongs as well as the on air personality on 90.3 KNBA out of Anchorage, Alaska. You can listen to KNBA radio online at www.knba.org.
The Inuit group Pamyua (the two gentlemen with hats and holding red cups) were in [partial] attendance and did a little "Hey Boy" for us and worked their magic on the bongos and sang. It was mah'velous and really added to the evening celebrations!! You can find out about “The most famous Inuit band in the world.” ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE [Italy] by going to pamyua.com.
The salmon was caught by Jody Potts on the Copper River - only the Best Salmon you could ever eat!
Aaron has offered his cultural expertise to publications to continue this mission of awareness he and his new wife are on. You can see more about his work and more about their Athabaskan culture at the following links:
To learn more about Sugpiaq artist, Lalla Williams: http://www.alaskanative.net/data/ALASKANATIVE/Files/File/featured-artist-lalla.pdf
For more on Shyanne - you can check out these articles
Thanks for including us on your most "epic" of days Shyanne and Aaron! It will go down in the history books for us! Much love...j
|Classic Shyanne - if only you could hear that laugh!|
|This dog was cool! Jumping to get the bubbles|