Cancer is the leading cause of death among Alaska Native people, which is why the village of Tanana passed a resolution in 2018 encouraging Tanana Chiefs Conference to “organize a walk devoted to remembering those we’ve lost to cancer, raising cancer awareness, cancer prevention, and information on harmful lifestyles.”
On June 2nd, 2019, TCC hosted the Khotr’elneyn 5K Walk/Run in Fairbanks. Khotr’elneyn is from the Lower Tanana Athabascan dialect, which translates to ‘We Remember’.
“We have all been affected by cancer either directly or indirectly and we have all lost friends and family to the disease,” says TCC Chief/Chairman Victor Joseph, “It’s important that we gather together to honor those we have lost, those who are suffering, and those who are in recovery.”
The event featured a special performance by indigenous group Pamyua, a cancer focused health fair featuring health educators from across the state, Alaska Native art for sale, and more.
While the event was free to the public, runners could purchase a race bib for a suggested $5 donation. All donations for the event went towards the Interior Alaska Cancer Association (IACA), an all-volunteer organization that provides support groups, financial assistance, and resource guidance for Interior Alaskans diagnosed with cancer.
TCC kicked off the fundraising with a $1,500 towards IACA. In total, $2,287 were raised at the event. Additionally, Galena raised a total of $650 during the walk in their community.