FAIRBANKS Alaska Natives from around the state organized one of their favorite activities during the Elder and Youth Conference, "Men's House and Women's House." The organizational advancement director for the First Alaskans Institute, Jorie Paoli, said it's common in native culture for men and women to talk about things separately. "Traditionally in many of our cultures we have created space within our villages for men to talk with other men, the women, young ladies to talk about the issues that are important to us," Paoli said.
This is a very special time for the youth and elders to talk about any issue they find important. Women gathered in many groups around different tables in front of the stage; men gathered in one big circle in a separate room. One of the issues brought up in the large circle of men was the importance of hunting skills in a technology-filled culture. Another speaker said kind words are very powerful. For him, every once in a while it's nice say, 'Thanks for being here, you're doing a good job.'