Voices from Russia

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Вечная ему память. Reader John Richard Daeunhauer: Orthodox Christian and Poet

00 Dauenhauers. 22.08.14

A note to my readers… anything that you see on this blogsite, you can post on yours… I don’t believe in suing people, puffing myself up, or trying to steal credit that’s not mine to steal. We’re all in this together…

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00 John Richard Daeunhauer. 23.08.14

Dick and Nora earlier this year, in May…

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Reader John Richard Daeuenhauer wasn’t only a scholar and preserver of Tlingit language and literacy. He was a faithful Orthodox Christian and Church Reader who attended services, received sacraments, served on his parish council, and was on the St Herman Seminary Board. One of his many legacies is his poetry, which fuses Orthodox theology with creative expression and interactions with the Alaskan landscape and people. Daeunhauer’s writings and poetry are full of the themes of personal transfiguration, death, and resurrection in Christ. The Orthodox faith helped shape his worldview; his essay The Spiritual Epiphany of Aleut clearly expressed that. Reader John showed an abiding interest in the Orthodox teaching of theosis, the gradual process of human beings becoming “partakers of the divine nature” (1 Peter 1.4) and growing in the likeness of God. He wrote:

The potential for divinity is inseparable from the potential for humanity, because, as Jesus teaches in the Gospel according to St Luke (17.21) that the Kingdom of God is within us and doesn’t come visibly in the form of a geographic place. Likewise, St John the Theologian repeats a theme throughout the Fourth Gospel that we all have the potential of being born as children of God (1.12-13) and that unless we undergo a spiritual rebirth or enlightenment… a spiritual coming alive… we can’t see the Kingdom of God (3.3-8). Conversely, the act or experience of enlightenment reveals the Kingdom of God.

Orthodox Alaska

January 1979, p. 35   

This quest for spiritual rebirth and regeneration certainly was a major theme in Dauenhauer’s life and work. As a faithful Orthodox Christian, Reader John sought to be personally transformed and transfigured by Jesus Christ and the life of the Church. Through personal rebirth, not only do we see the Kingdom of God (even in this life), but we become truly human. It’s only in relationship to God that we can become human beings.  Reader John’s love, humour, and kindness show that he had truly become a new creature in Christ.

Reader John often meditated and wrote on death and mortality in the Light of Christ’s Holy Resurrection. Now, he’s personally made that passage from death to life that he prayed about for many years.  His unpublished poetry collection Doxologies has two beautiful poems on Pascha, which express his belief in life after death and the unique way in which Orthodox services link the Church on earth with the Church in heaven. In these poems, the liturgical worship of the Church mirrors and reflects cosmic worship and transformation of all of God’s Creation. As we pray for Reader John, Norah, and family, his poetry can help us experience the Empty Tomb and the Light of Christ’s Holy Resurrection. They form a lasting legacy to Reader John’s abiding faith and hope in Christ. We believe that Reader John is now experiencing the heavenly cosmic Liturgy of which he wrote so convincingly. May His memory be eternal!

Вечная ему память

undated (after 19 August 2014)

The Diocese of Alaska

http://www.doaoca.org/news_140821_1.html

Friday, 22 August 2014

A Partnership of Language and Love: Reflecting on the Life of Dick Dauenhauer

00 Dauenhauers. 22.08.14

Nora and Dick Dauenhauer at St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

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Russian Orthodox funeral services are pending for former Alaska poet laureate Richard Dauenhauer who died on Tuesday. Dauenhauer had worked in many areas, including poetry, translation, and teaching. He was also the husband of Tlingit scholar and Alaska writer laureate Nora Marks Dauenhauer. For more than 40 years, they had a partnership of marriage and scholarship. In the early 1970s, Dick Dauenhauer taught folklore at Alaska Methodist University

, that’s when he met student Nora Marks. Her friend Rosita Worl, now president of Sealaska Heritage Institute, was also a student. Worl remembered, “She and Dick just hit it off. I think they had the same kind of sense of humour as I recall. That was when their work started”.  Dauenhauer and Marks married on 28 November 1973, she was 15 years older than he was. World told us, “They became quite a team. He had the technical knowledge of languages and stories and he was an educator, and she had all the traditional knowledge of Tlingit and it was a great combination”.

Born in Syracuse NY in 1942, Dick Dauenhauer was a linguist for most of his life. He earned degrees in Slavic Languages and German. He translated poetry from Russian, Classical Greek, Swedish, and Finnish. In 1969, he moved to Alaska to teach at Alaska Methodist University (now, Alaska Pacific University). Dauenhauer and Marks spent a few years at the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In 1983, they moved to Juneau. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, they worked at Sealaska Heritage Foundation in Juneau, now known as Sealaska Heritage Institute. They co-authored Tlingit language books and developed teaching materials. With the publication of Beginning Tlingit, Worl credits the couple for popularising the language’s written form, saying, “What he and Nora did was to bring the orthography into everyday use. They made that available to the students of the language”.

They collected hundreds of recordings documenting Tlingit history, culture, and language. They co-edited a four-volume series, Classics of Tlingit Oral Literature, and received American Book Awards for two volumes. Juneau playwright and screenwriter Dave Hunsaker based his play Battles of Fire and Water on the tri-lingual volume, The Battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804. He noted, “However, really, the book Tlingit Oratory was, to me, stunning. By that time, the Tlingit had adopted me. I lived here in Juneau for 30 years and I felt like I knew a lot about the culture and when that book came out, I realised I didn’t know anything about the culture”. Hunsaker said that the Dauenhauers revealed the complex and poetic oral tradition of the Tlingit culture through the translated speeches of Tlingit elders, “They recognised that these aren’t charming campfire Indian lore stories; these were world literature. They treated them as world literature. The way they rendered them, and the way that they’ve been published so we can all now read them forever, by God, they are world literature”.

Between their joint books and separate volumes of creative writing, Dick and Nora Dauenhauer produced an abundant body of work. Nevertheless, their partnership held much more. Hunsaker related, “It’s one of the great love affairs of any life that I know anything about. They never got past the hand holding stage”. Hunsaker was friends with the Dauenhauers for about 40 years. Throughout that time, he said that they always acted like newlyweds, “In spite of age difference, in spite of their incredibly different backgrounds, I just saw them be always fascinated with each other”.

In 2005, Dick Dauenhauer became President’s Professor of Alaska Native Languages and Culture at the University of Alaska Southeast. Chancellor John Pugh said that the couple spearheaded the creation of the programme, “They just were really the heart and soul of the Alaska Native Language programme”. Pugh said that up to that time, other UA faculty members had studied the language, but the Dauenhauers wanted to make sure that people spoke it. Pugh pointed up, “That was the real change in terms of not being an academic language, but trying to actually think about how we might have the speakers that we presently have and have them really be able to transfer the language to younger people who’d carry the language forward, so that it could be a living language, continue as a living language”. Assistant Professor Lance Twitchell now heads the Alaska Native Languages degree programme at UAS. He said that it’s been an honour to know and work with Dick and Nora, “and see how they operate just as poets and artists and linguists and anthropologists and just wonderful human beings. I had the chance to tell both, ‘If I’m one-tenth of what you are, I’m pretty happy with the way my life went’”.

When Dick Dauenhauer passed away on 19 August at the age of 72, he and Nora were nearing the end of a multi-decade project… a collection of Tlingit Raven stories.

22 August 2014

Lisa Phu

Alaska Public Media

http://www.alaskapublic.org/2014/08/22/a-partnership-of-language-and-love-reflecting-on-dick-dauenhauer/

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Mother Cathedral

00 St Michael Cathedral. Sitka AK. 19.08.14

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St Michael Cathedral is a great example of Old Russian church architecture. The greatest Orthodox Missionary in Alaska, Bishop Innokenty Veniaminov, designed it. He came to Sitka in 1834, returned to Russia in 1838, and became a bishop in 1840. He was the first Bishop of Alaska, and upon his return to Sitka in 1841, he began planning the construction of the cathedral. Bishop Innokenty laid the cornerstone in 1844 and hired carpenters and craftsmen to build it. The building used spruce logs with an outer layer of clapboard, and sailcloth covered the ceilings and walls for insulation and acoustics. The history of St Michael Cathedral began when a ship carrying the St Michael icon sank, along with all its valuable cargo, 30 miles short of its destination. Thirty days after the Neva sank, the undamaged crate carrying the icon washed ashore at Sitka and local residents found it On 20 November 1848, Bishop Innokenty consecrated St Michael the Archangel Russian Orthodox Cathedral. The building is laid out in the form of a cross, with three altars dedicated from left to right to the Mother of God “of Sitka”, St Michael the Archangel, and St Innokenty.

Bishop Innokenty learned how to speak the Tlingit language, and the Tlingits loved him, as he went all-out to understand their way of life and spiritual needs. He provided them with medicine and vaccines. Today, 90 percent of the cathedral congregation is Tlingit, as well as other native groups. The music in the liturgy is sung a capella (unaccompanied voice) in English, Slavonic, Tlingit, Aleut, and Yupik. Bishop Innokenty eventually returned to Russia and became the Metropolitan of Moscow and all the Russias. The Church canonised him a saint in 1977.

On 2 January 1966, tragedy struck the cathedral. A fire in Sitka’s business district in the middle of the night eventually spread to the church. Scores of local people rushed to the cathedral, where they formed human chains to remove most of the treasures… original artworks, icons, and religious objects, at the risk of their own lives. Unfortunately, the fire destroyed the structure, the clock built by Bishop Innokenty, Bishop Innokenty’s library, and bells. The Icon of the Last Supper above the Royal Doors in the main altar also perished in the blaze. Immediately after this tragedy, concerned citizens made plans to rebuild the cathedral in its original form, beauty, size, and style. They formed the Sitka Historical Restoration Committee, including many prominent citizens. It took 10 years to rebuild due to the difficult conditions peculiar to Alaska. The original plans were extant and they used them in the reconstruction. The replacement was completed and consecrated on 21 November 1976. The generous support of thousands of people in Sitka, throughout Alaska, and Lower 48 states made all of it possible.

The National Parks Service designated St Michael Cathedral a National Historical Monument and the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops named it an architectural and historical monument. To this day, its clergy serve a full cycle of liturgical services to accommodate the needs of Orthodox believers in Sitka, and it’s the “Mother Cathedral” of the Orthodox Church in America.

20 August 2014

Junjun Ablaza

Manila Bulletin

http://www.mb.com.ph/mother-cathedral/

Friday, 13 December 2013

Link Between Native Americans and Siberia Encoded in DNA History

00 Tlingit people in traditional regalia. Alaska USA. 13.12.13

Tlingit people of Alaska in traditional regalia

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Recently, a team of scientists, including seven researchers from Russia, revealed the results of a study on the DNA of the ancient inhabitants of Siberia during the Upper Palaeolithic period. Scientists were able to obtain new data on the early stages of human settlement in various continents, including the Americas. The research confirmed that the first inhabitants of the Americas, the Paleo-Indians, arrived via Beringia, an isthmus between Siberia and Alaska that existed at that time. Scientists consider Altai Krai the genetic birthplace of the first Americans. Their ancestors settled in Siberia and eventually reached the Americas. Whilst the first Americans were thought to have a close genetic relationship with East Asia, until now, scientists weren’t able to determine exactly to which people of the Old World their genes could be most closely be associated with. Through the study, scientists were able to make new conclusions about the makeup of ancient Native Americans.

The team, led by Maanasa Raghavan of the University of Copenhagen, studied the genome of the ancient inhabitants of Siberia and compared these data with the genes of other peoples. They published their results in Nature. The researchers took a DNA sample from the 24,000-year-old skeleton of an ancient inhabitant of Siberia, discovered during excavations in 1928–58 in Usolsky Raion (Irkutsk Oblast), near Malta station. Now, it’s part of the State Hermitage Museum collection. Scientists conducted DNA sequencing on the remains and compared the data with the genomes of individuals belonging to 11 modern ethnic groups, four Eurasian groups (ancestors of modern Mari, Tajiks, Avars, and East Indians), as well as with the genome associated with Denisovans, a subspecies of Homo Sapiens discovered recently in the Altai Mountains. The results showed how the Karitiana, an indigenous people from Brazil, are genetically close to ancient Siberians.

From these results, the study concluded that genes typical of the people of West Eurasia came to the Americas earlier than previously believed… namely 24,000 years ago, during the Upper Palaeolithic period. Furthermore, the data revealed why Native Americans carry haplogroup X, a mitochondrial DNA haplogroup commonly occurring among the peoples of western Eurasia, but not found among East Asians. Lyudmila Osipova, co-author of the study and head of the Population Ethno-Genetics Laboratory at the Institute of Cytology and Genetics SB RAN, said, “The results refer to the early stages of peopling of the continents, particularly Siberia and the Americas. In addition, they have indirect links to the issues of race genesis, although scientists discuss the matter cautiously. However, the issue is biological in nature and deeply connected to the topic of adaptation of human populations and to their different living conditions in different climatic zones of the globe”.

Osipova argued that despite the relatively good degree of research conducted by geneticists on the early peopling of our planet and the identification of early human migration patterns, life is more complicated than any taxonomy, saying, “The question is… ‘At what level of organisation were race genesis processes taking place… Homo sapiens, or, even at earlier stages?’ There are a lot of discoveries still to be made”. According to Osipova, the study confirms an earlier hypothesis about the origins of Native Americans, and provides a great deal of fundamental knowledge on lesser known aspects of migrations, including the movements of the people belonging to the European type towards the territory of Siberia in ancient times.

1 December 2013

Yana Khlyustova

Russia Behind the Headlines

http://rbth.ru/science_and_tech/2013/12/01/link_between_native_americans_and_siberia_encoded_in_dna_his_32159.html

 

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