Dmae Roberts presents a half-hour version ofComing Home: Return of the Alutiiq Masks, a one-hour radio documentary that interweaves oral history interviews, Alutiiq music and soundscapes.This full-length documentary originally aired in 208 on about 188 public radio stations around the country.

Alutiiq Mask titled “Ashik” (“Protector” is on the left of page)

Coming Home: Return of the Alutiiq Masks takes us to Kodiak, Alaska where Alutiiq peoples work to save their language, cultural traditions and heritage by unlocking the secrets of the masks collected by French explorer Alphonse Pinnart in 1872.

When Pinnart died in 1911, he bequeathed the masks to the Chateau Musee, a small museum off the coast of Northern France. The collection survived two World Wars and were “rediscovered” by Alutiiq artists who began making pilgrimages to France in 2000 to see the artifacts of their culture. This led to an unprecedented sharing of history between the Alutiiq Museum in Kodiak and the Chateau Musee.

Dmae Roberts as part of a USA Fellowship residency produced this documentary in collaboration with Earthsongs/Koahnic Broadcasting in Anchorage.  Host is  Shyanne Beatty and Associate Producer/Engineer is  Clark Salisbury.

Alutiiq artist Helen Simeonoff w/masks discovered in France.

136 years ago…
Alutiiq masks were taken
From Kodiak, Alaska
And given to France
And for a short time they are

“Where I go, you go, helper spirit.
You don’t know where I will come from,
The land or sea.

As I travel the universe, helper spirit,
Protect me…”

-From a song collected by Alphonse Pinart
in Eagle Harbor, March 1872

You can hear Stage & Studio at the KBOO website or on 90.7FM live at 11am Tuesdays.

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To purchase a download of the entire one-hour series, write to stagenstudio @


Rasmuson Foundation
United States Artists
United States Artists – Alaska AIR
Alaska Humanities Forum

Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc.

National Endowment for the Arts