“Get up, move, do something”, this is the meaning of Daaga’ and the spirit of the Doyon Daaga’ award. Through the Daaga’ Fund, Native leaders unite to promote healthy, drug-and-alcohol-free communities with grants of up to $3,000 per annual funding cycle. Since 1990, Doyon has awarded more than $280,000 to interior Native individuals and organizations.
The Daaga’ Award reflects our belief that communities are healthier when Native values are alive and traditional skills are prized-such as beadwork, artwork, hunting, and trapping. Programs that integrate the spiritual, social, and economic needs of our people make us all stronger. The proposed projects should support the values of the Daaga’ Awards, which include contributing to the healing that lies within the local people, utilizing the strength of traditional values, and encouraging programs that integrate spiritual, social, and economic needs of the communities.
Proposals may be granted up to $3,000 per funding period. The awarded amount is dependent on the number of proposals received and the need for the program as described in the application and supporting materials. Applicants may not always receive the full $3,000. For this reason, Daaga’ should be considered supplemental funding and not be the only support sought when funding a program.
The deadline for the 2021 Daaga’ Awards application is Friday, January 8, 2021, at 5 p.m. AKST.
In 2020, Doyon, Limited awarded $50,000 in Daaga’ Award grants to 15 organizations. The shareholder relations committee, comprised of Doyon board members, approved the grants at a February meeting.
Congratulations to the following 2020 recipients:
- Birch Creek Tribal Council – This will be a drug and alcohol-free event. At camp, there will be a lot of discussions on various topics such as drugs and alcohol, wellness and prevention topics, survival skills, environmental issues, and healthy families. This project would teach tribal members how to set up a fish camp and how to preserve their own food and become more sustainable by boosting food security and minimizing waste. This project also includes the goal of increasing local food production.
• Galena Close-up Team–14 middle school (grades 6th through 8th) students and 3 chaperones will travel to Washington DC to participate in the Close-Up Foundation’s experiential learning about U.S.A. history and government. We will travel to Washington DC one day prior to the scheduled programming so that we can have a guided tour of the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, including a presentation of Alaskan art and artifacts, followed by a visit to the site of the Native American Veteran’s Memorial. Our group will fundraise the majority of the cost of the trip, practicing self-sufficiency, and hard work in planning events such as labor action, snow shoveling, preparing meals for sale, and processing recyclable material. We will learn about Native American history and art through the Smithsonian Museum, and consider the importance of representation of our needs and goals in congress and the judicial system, by seeing the process in action.
• Louden Tribal Council – Building a birch bark sled involves going out in the woods finding the right kind of birch. Cut the birch, steam, and bend the handlebar, slants, runners, onto a frame. Pass on the art of making a traditional birch sled, this craft is fading away. Being busy with your hands, mind, and talking to others, keeps you from thinking of unhealthy habits, promoting wellness and prevention, you do healthy activities and how well you feel and continue this path.
• Dancing with the Spirit – The program hires staff to write the songs used to teach music and dance, then updates the curriculum on their webpage, including both guitar and fiddle music. They bring in community members to tell stories about the history of their community, talk about music, and how they promote wellness.
• Fairbanks Native Association (FNA) Spring Fling – The event reflects FNA’s strength-based youth programs with a focus on family and Athabascan values, and will include art activities and music. FNA promotes traditional values by using traditional material and methods.
• Galena School Theater – We will have two professional music theater performance artists work with our students instructing them in the art of performance theater. We will work with the artists to rehearse a music theater production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” which will be performed with students at Sidney Huntington School and Galena Interior Learning Academy. Approximately 82% of our students at SHS and GILA are Alaskan Native students. Music theater performance promotes the values of music, dance, and storytelling in a shared community. The theatrical production is shared with the community as a gift of those talents from the students to the community. We are teaching students to persevere and to remain dedicated to the production even when it might take personal sacrifice. Music theater promotes self-sufficiency and requires hard work. We are building leadership skills as we work with students to learn new skills and be responsible for others.
• Hughes Village Council – We have plans for an Athabascan instructor to teach birch wood sled building on January 15-18, 2020, three Athabascan instructors to teach to tan and make caribou legging boots in February 2020, and an Inupiaq instructor to teach birchbark basket and birch bark picture frames in Spring 2020; when the birchbark is ready to peel. These cultural activities will be traditionally orientated and encourage the spiritual, social, and economic needs of our community and will be alcohol and drug-free for the whole community. Storytelling will be incorporated in the activities, as we are working on the activities.
• Huslia Tribal Council – The Huslia Dance Group will need funding to attend the Festival of Native Arts in Fairbanks, AK in March 2020. We currently have 30 members ages 11-19. This would be a great opportunity for our dance group to share our songs and culture with other groups in a culture rich environment, as well as experience other cultures, songs, and dance in an educational environment provided by the Festival of Native Arts. Our dance group has been holding practice weekly for 2 hours to learn the songs of our elders to share with others. Huslia’s strongest asset is our native traditions and the strength of our community. We take pride in our cultural beliefs and where they come from. Huslia’s objective is to safeguard our cultural and subsistence lifestyle through promoting an annual culture camp, teaching Native language; and document histories, crafts making, traditional knowledge, and values of the elders.
• Koyukuk Tribal Council – Setting a fishnet under the ice. When I was growing up everyone always had a fishnet set year-round for fresh subsistence fish. Winter set was the most challenging and rewarded by hard work. Rewarding to have fresh food. When we had a successful catch, we would go throughout the community and share it with all. Our families always had food. I hardly see any winter fishing going on. The net would have to be set 5 miles upriver from the village. Checked every 2 days.
• Venetie Village- We would like to hold sewing classes to teach our residents to make fisher hats, beaver hats, mittens, and skin boots. This is an important part of our survival and culture. We need to pass on this tradition. Not many of our younger generation knows how to sew these items. We will invite culture bearers to Venetie to host beading classes to teach these skills. All community members will be invited at no charge. These items were important to our survival in the cold climate we live in. We still need these items to survive the cold. While teaching and sewing, our history and old stories will be told to those in the class. Our history is mostly oral, and this is how our stories are passed on. Our Gwich’in language will also be spoken and taught during this time.
• Nikolai Village- Our gathering promotes togetherness, traditional values such as potlatches and gathering in a drug and alcohol-free environment promoting healthy choices, including fiddle dancing and learning to play instruments. The group Dancing with the Spirit will be invited to teach the lessons on the instrument as well as suicide prevention, healthy choices, and how to become leaders.
- Northway Village- Northway has what is known as mourning songs for passed ones, Northway proposes assembling seniors and elders along with the Northway youth to teach the youth the songs and work with the youth to teach them these revered songs. This project will require the youth to interact with the seniors throughout the project. The completed project will then be recorded in either DVD or cd format for storage and to be available to the community. Our elders and seniors will take the lead in the songs with the youth working closely with the seniors learning the songs and drumming this will allow us another avenue to pass on traditional songs and dance.
- Tanana Native Council- The Native Village of Tanana is requesting this funding to revive the historical Nuchalawoyya Celebration. Nuchalawoyya was a historical gathering that occurred in Tanana every year. Other villages would be invited to participate in Athabascan dancing, games of endurance, traditional potlatch, and much more. It would be ideal to kick off the Nuchalawoyya celebration with a large traditional Chief’s meeting to discuss the future of our culture, language and traditions, and how to bring those back to the communities in this region.
• Young Native Fiddlers – Young Native Fiddlers (YNF) teaches students from first grade through high school how to play the fiddle and guitar. YNF helps to develop leadership skills, confidence, love of music, and helps in academic success.
• Yukon Jamboree Inc.– Yukon Jamboree would like to invite Fabian Scott to Galena to teach violin skills to the kids and community. Fabian is a young, very talented musician who is willing to come for one week for 5 months to teach his skills. Our goal is to have a consistent, structured schedule for all, also to prepare them to perform at our Annual Yukon Jamboree celebration which is in its 32nd year. We would like to incorporate other events during the week he is here, such as how to go fishing, cooking, sewing, crochet. Music has always been an essential part of our lifestyle, whether it’s native singing or through instruments. We would also like each student to record a story from an elder about when they were young and ask what they did for fun, what were they taught growing up, what was their favorite food, etc.
To learn more about the Daaga’ Fund or for questions regarding the application, please contact:
Shareholder Outreach Department
Tel: (907) 459-2085 (Fairbanks)
Tel: (888) 478-4755 (toll-free)