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Following Their Summit of Denali, Hoogendorns to Address Elders and Youth

Two young men stand smiling in front of a grey building on a sunny, summer day

A pair of Nome brothers have been named the keynote speakers for this year’s Elders and Youth Conference, taking place next month in Fairbanks.

Oliver Tusagvik and Wilson Mungnak Hoogendorn were the first to summit Denali this season back in May. The brothers, both in their early 20s, were featured on KTVA’s Frontiers with Rhonda McBride yesterday as they detailed their two-week climb and the challenges that came with it.

The next task at hand for the Hoogendorns will be giving some of the opening speeches during the 36th annual Elders and Youth conference at the Carlson Center.

According to a press release from the First Alaskans Institute, this year’s Elders & Youth theme will be celebrating the importance and diversity of Alaska Native languages. Oliver Hoogendorn says his favorite part about being Inupiaq is “the land, plants, and animals that live on that land. You can’t beat going for a long run on the tundra,” says Hoogendorn, “seeing a heard of caribou, eating blueberries.”

Both Hoogendorns along with elder Sally Swetzof of Atka will discuss Alaska Native culture, language, and perhaps some of their own stories during the three-day event.

The 2019 Elders and Youth Conference begins officially with a Warming of the Hands on October 13th.

Image at top: Oliver and Wilson Hoogendorn stand outside Nome’s Katirvik Cultural Center. Photo: Danielle Slingsby, Kawerak; used with permission.

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