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Photo Gallery: Dance performances in Cordova
Each November, ferries and airplanes full of people arrive in Cordova, Alaska for the Eyak Native Sobriety Celebration. The event, held annually for the past 17 years, is meant to be both a community gathering and a way to combat substance abuse, says organizer Belen Cook, who works for the Native Village of Eyak. "For some, it has helped people to stay clean and sober," she says. "For others, it's just the gathering that's so important." The event, held from Nov. 12-14 at local Cordova schools, brings together Native and non-Native people to celebrate a substance-free lifestyle with events like a 'sobriety countdown.' Some people, she says, have been sober for 30 or 40 years, others just a few days. "It's just a time of gathering and celebrating," Cook said. "And letting people know that there's always hope." Performances by dance groups from around the state are another focal point of the event. Friday night's activities included performances by the Cordova Ikumat Native Dancers, Tatitlek Alutiiq Dancers, Ahtna Heritage Dancers, Ke ex' Kwaan Dancers, Mt. St. Elias Dancers and Yees Ku Oo Dancers. Other celebration events include a candlelight vigil, workshops and AA meetings. For more information on the Eyak Native Sobriety Celebration, visit http://www.nveyak.com/.