Sobriety Celebration moves to the Cordova Center

Mt. St. Elias Dancer Amiah Johnson performs during NVE’s Sobriety Celebration at the Cordova Jr./Sr. High School gym. (Nov. 10, 2018) Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times

This year, Sobriety Celebration will move from its longtime home at Cordova Jr./Sr. High School to the Cordova Center. The ambience of the center’s North Star Theatre will allow attendees to enjoy presentations by speakers and dance groups with fewer distractions, Sobriety Celebration coordinator Mary Babic said.

“Bert [Adams] is new as executive director, I’m new as coordinator and we’ve got a new venue we’re doing it at,” Babic said. “There’s a lot of firsts this year.”

The Native Village of Eyak Tribal Council hopes this year’s Sobriety Celebration will be more focused on youth, Babic said. The Nov. 15-16 event will open with a performance by Native American comedian and actor Tatanka Means. Means is perhaps best known for his role in “Saints & Strangers,” a 2015 National Geographic Channel miniseries dramatizing the Mayflower settlers’ first year in North America.

Keynote speaker Sarjus Moonin will also appear at the 26th Sobriety Celebration. Performers will include dance groups such as the Cordova Ikumat Dancers and Yees Ku Oo Dancers. Native genealogist Pam Smith will also deliver a welcome address in the Eyak language. Attendees will additionally witness a demonstration of Native Youth Olympics skills, such as the Indian Stick Pull and the Alaskan High Kick, performed by youth from around the region. Outside the North Star Theatre, information tables will offer material on sobriety and healthy living.

Sobriety Celebration will be capped off by a traditional potlatch dinner on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 16 at the high school gym. For admission to the potlatch, attendees must display a wristband that can be obtained by attending a talk or a dance group performance.

“We really want to open the event up to everybody in the community,” Babic said.


Download a PDF of the full Sobriety Celebration schedule here.

26th Annual Sobriety Celebration

Nov. 15–16

Tatanka Means, Native American comedian
Cordova Ikumat Dancers, Yees Ku Oo Dancers, Nanwalek Seal Dancers, Mt. St. Elias Dancers, Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers, Tatitlek Alutiiq Dancers and Anchorage Unangax Dance Group

Keynote speaker Sarjus Moonin
Special guest speakers Christina Love, Matt Rush, Alex Russin and others

Native Youth Olympics demonstration
Youth empowerment workshop
Youth dance

Honoring our veterans ceremony
Food vendors
Arts and crafts vendors
Silent auction
Traditional potlatch dinner