Alaska Native woman holds traditionally woven basket in hands.

ANHC ILEAD Program “Adopts” Indigenous Garden

The Alaska Native Heritage Center is currently in the third year of a grant program under Administration for Native Americans (ANA) Initiative for Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (ILEAD). “Awake in Our Ancestors’ Dreams” seeks to connect Alaska Native youth ages 14-24 to their indigenous traditions and foster a “survival kit” of knowledge based on their ancestral ways of living. As part of the ILEAD program, ANHC had a goal of creating a community garden on the grounds of the Center, and finally this year the garden has come to life!

ANHC employee and ILEAD Cultural Program Coordinator Dustin Newman worked with Meda DeWitt to transplant her demonstration garden from Alaska Pacific University’s Farm in the Mat-Su Valley. DeWitt is a Tlingit traditional healer and advocate for responsible environment stewardship. She is an educator within the University of Alaska system and is the Director/Owner of Haa Jooni Productions. Dustin and Meda, along with ANHC summer interns and independent ILEAD participants brought in soil, set the garden design, and put the plants into their new home.

The design of the garden is representative of Alaska Native spirituality, with three circles representing the realms of the universe. The inner circle represents the living world, the middle represents the natural world, and the outer circle represents the spiritual world. Each circle of plants reflects that realm.

Inner Circle (Living World)

Stinkweed/Wormwood

Stinkweed/Wormwood

Middle Circle (Natural World)

Chives

Chives

Indian Potatoes

Indian Potatoes

Sour Dock

Sour Dock

Northern Yarrow

Northern Yarrow

Outer Circle (Spiritual World)

Silver Leaf

Silver Leaf

Common Juniper

Common Juniper

Beach Lovage

Beach Lovage

Alaska Sage

Alaska Sage

Chocolate Lilies

ANHC’s garden is an opportunity for visitors and participants in Center programs to learn more about the plants that have historically been a part of Alaska Native health. 

Come out and see our new garden!