Proposal: Larsen Bay Tribal Council

Name of Nonprofit Organization: Larsen Bay Tribal Council

Project Name: Larsen Bay Ladies Night-Sewing Group

Your Name: Amanda Lofgren

Short Project Description:

Through a sewing group, the ladies of Larson Bay will have a fun and meaningful activity that promotes healthy and safe lifestyles and positive relationships.

The Big Why:

The community of Larson Bay is an Alutiiq village located on the northwest coast of Kodiak Island, which is home to 86 individuals year round. The economy is primarily based on fishing, with very few opportunities for year-round employment. The community has shared that there are limited alcohol-free activities to promote a healthy and safe lifestyle. The tribal council wants to engage the women and girls in the community through a sewing group at a weekly “ladies night.” This is an opportunity not only for intergenerational teaching of traditional sewing, arts and crafts but a way to gather a large group of women to engage in a positive and meaningful activity.

A few years ago, a regional Behavioral Health Therapist traveled to Larson Bay, twice a year for two days to engage the women through therapeutic gathering circles that focused on arts and crafts. This created an environment to develop trust and respect amongst the group to begin healing from the trauma they may have experienced. One year, the therapist brought two sewing machines with her and the women worked around the clock to finish their kuspuks before she left. The community reached out, wanting to continue to sew year round and received eight sewing machines from the school district. Unfortunately, the machines didn’t work and there is not funding available in the community to have them repaired or replaced. The cost to ship them out and have them fixed is higher than replacing them.

The tribal administrator, Mary, shared that if they could identify some funding to purchase sewing machines and the equipment they would be beyond grateful. There is a strong commitment to create a healthy community and reduce the rate of alcohol abuse. Mary stated, “Sewing creates an excellent social activity that is healthy and encourages young girls and ladies to participate in positive gatherings rather than those with alcohol and drugs.” Not only is sewing recreational it is also an opportunity for making arts and crafts to sell throughout the year at tribal gatherings, bizarre, and other outlets. However, Mary stated that, “an Alutiiq tradition is, all firsts- first craft, first item made, are to be gifted or kept by the maker for good luck. All the women in the community have not yet had the opportunity to make their “first” gift because there hasn’t been the opportunity for multiple projects when they only have two machines, for two days, for the whole community to share twice a year.”

The Bottom Line:

This request is for six (6) commercial grade sewing machines that are durable and withstand diverse fabrics (quilts, canvas, seal skins, etc). The community does not have access to a local repair shop and so higher quality machines are needed. They are also requesting funds to purchase some of the supplies and equipment needed for sewing such as material, cutting boards, rotary scissors.

6 Janome HD3000 Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine w/hard case ($350) = $2100

Materials, cutting boards, sewing equipment, etc. ($500) = $500

Total Request for 7 machines and supplies =$2,600

Amanda Lofgren

Program Officer

Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority

3745 Community Park Loop, Ste #200

Anchorage, AK 99508

(wk) 907.269.3409

(fax) 907.269.7966