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Five honored at HAIL awards

HAIL award honors indigenous educators from across Alaska

From the Juneau Empire

HAIL Award Winners Past and Present, Photo by Peter MetcalfeUAS English faculty Ernestine Hayes received an Honoring Alaska's Indigenous Literature (HAIL) award, which honors indigenous educators from across Alaska, on Tuesday, June 3 at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.

The 2007-08 recipients were Hayes, author of "Blonde Indian, an Alaska Native Memoir"; renowned storyteller Annie Blue, of Togiak; Walter Johnson, author of "Sukdu Nel Nuhghelnek: I'll Tell You A Story"; Michael Krauss, author of "In Honor of Eyak"; and Clarissa Hudson, author of "Jennie Weaves an Apprentice: A Chilkat Weaver's Handbook."

In her book, Ernestine Hayes traces one life from childhood in the Juneau Indian Village through adulthood in California and an eventual return home. Since its publication by the University of Arizona Press in 2006, Hayes' memoir has earned recognition as an honest and welcome addition to Native American literature.

Called a "rewarding, evocative, ultimately uplifting view of Native life" by Booklist and "one of the most important books to come out of Alaska" by the Anchorage Press, "Blonde Indian" received a 2007 American Book Award, was chosen as a 2006 Book of the Month by Native America Calling and was named a Kiriyama Prize nonfiction finalist and a creative nonfiction finalist in the PEN Center USA Literary Awards.

A member of the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan, Hayes' work has been published in anthologies, journals and other media. She has been an assistant professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast Juneau campus since receiving a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2003. She is the grandmother of four.


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