Portugal. The Man Release Documentary, Clothing Line to Benefit Alaska’s Indigenous Peoples

Portugal. The Man (PTM) is giving a voice to the people of their native state.

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The now Portland, Oregon-based band originated in Wasilla, Alaska, the hometown of frontman John Gourley. Through their PTM Foundation, the “Feel It Still” singers have released the short film, Pass The Mic: Alaska Native Health, to spotlight the issues most important to the Indigenous Peoples in Alaska. Those issues include limited access to healthcare, the importance of farming, and how reintroducing indigenous traditions and languages has decreased suicide rates among Indigenous youth.

“My grandma, when she spoke, she was a part of the ecosystem,” a Native man says in the documentary. “There was no hierarchy. Culture’s very important, it grounds you. It’s really important to know who you are – that’s health.”

“In my language, there’s no word for art, there’s no word for culture,” another woman says. “It’s just who we are as Native people.”

The band has also launched a limited collection of clothing items, including hoodies and sweatpants bearing an Alaska state seal designed by Gourley and Indigenous artist Nicholas Galanin. All of the proceeds benefit the Indigenous Peoples of Alaska.

“I am so honored to be able to go home to Alaska and visit these beautiful communities,” Gourley said in a press statement. “Their strength and resilience is incredible and something we can all learn from.”

The PTM Foundation places focus on community resilience, empathy and awareness through the arts and education, with particular emphasis the stories of Indigenous Peoples. “We are committed to helping bring these sacred voices – often the most informed, yet silenced among us – to the forefront,” PTM said in the mission statement.

With both ventures, the band is encouraging donations to Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and and Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation. Both organizations work to help meet the health needs of Native Americans, including medical services, rural water sanitation, disease research and prevention and more.

Photo Credit: Emily Dyan Ibarra / Courtesy The Syndicate

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