Alaska Native dancer in costume including traditional mask.

Tatiana Ticknor Joins Emerging Leaders of Color Program

The Alaska Native Heritage Center is pleased to announce that Tatiana Ticknor  (Dena’ina, Lingit and Deg Hit’an), Unguwat Culture and Resilience Program Coordinator, has been selected to participate in WESTAF’s 2021 Emerging Leaders of Color Program. 

WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) is a regional nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to strengthening the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of the arts in the West. Since 2010, WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color Program has promoted diverse, representative leadership and equity in the arts by engaging a diverse group of emerging leaders in coursework and activities to strengthen competencies and prepare participants for leadership positions.  Tatiana will be the first Emerging Leader of Color from Alaska since 2015.  She will also be the first ANHC employee to be an ELC cohort member.

A long-time leader and advocate for Alaska Native people, Ticknor has previously served on a number of youth boards including the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth planning committee; the Aspen Institute’s Champions for Change Youth Board; and the Anchorage Johnson O’Malley Board. She is excited and grateful for the opportunity to further develop her leadership skills within the Arts Sector through the Emerging Leaders of Color Program.

The Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) has been a second home for Tatiana as long as she can remember. Her mother, Jean Sam, spearheaded the development of ANHC’s High School Program when the Center first opened its doors 21 years ago.  

“I used to come here all the time with my mom when I was around one year old–my son’s age now. I’ve been coming here ever since,” said Tatiana.

Tatiana began her first official summer as an ANHC intern at age 15 as a site host and presented to tourists on Native cultures. When she returned for her second summer, Tatiana began practicing Iñupiaq, Yup’ik, and Suqpiaq forms of dance, and she continues to dance today.

“Our people are resilient, keeping our way of life and our way of living despite the hardships our people have gone through,” said Ticknor. “I am excited to take this training to open doors to continue to raise awareness on Indigenous issues as well as Indigenous resiliency through art.”

 “We are grateful to organizations like WESTAF that provide an opportunity like the Emerging Leaders of Color so young leaders like Tatiana can deepen her understanding, sharpen her skills and strengthen her competencies. Super proud of her!” said Tara Bourdukofsky (Unangax̂/Aleut and Lakota), Director of Cultural and Education Programs.