February 06, 2006

Documentary to Air on Anniversary of Constitution Completion

For Immediate Release
Monday, Feb. 6, 2006

A new documentary chronicling the creation of Alaska's constitution and the drive to statehood, The 49th Star: Creating Alaska will air at 8 tonight on public television stations across Alaska.» Today marks the 50th anniversary of the close of Alaska's Constitutional Convention at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

This past weekend, delegates, staff and consultants to the convention, Gov. Frank Murkowski, and others participated in events at the university celebrating the signing of the document that became the foundation for Alaska's state government. Events included a webcast public symposium, a community celebration dinner, a pre-broadcast screening of the new documentary and a public reception with creators of the constitution.» In addition, the Alaska flag that flew over Constitution Hall during the convention was presented to the university.»

Comments on the symposium and other events reflected the fact that the foundation for Alaska created in the winter of 1955-56 is a living document that belongs to the citizens of Alaska. On this day fifty years ago, delegates recognized the responsibilities of future generations by passing the following resolution:»

You are Alaska's children. We bequeath to you a state that will be glorious in her achievements, a homeland filled with opportunities for living, a land where you can worship and pray, a country where ambitions will be bright and real, an Alaska that will grow with you as you grow. We trust you; you are our future. We ask you to take tomorrow and dream; we know that you will see visions we do not see. We are certain that in capturing today for you, you can plan and build. Take our constitution and study it, work with it in your classrooms, understand its meaning and the facts within it. Help others to
love and appreciate it. You are Alaska's chidren...

The celebrations were part of the University of Alaska's three-year Creating Alaska project, which, in association with a variety of partners, has gathered oral histories, collected artifacts, developed an informational website, a traveling museum exhibit, a documentary and information for school teachers, conducted public commemoration activities, hosted the Conference of Young Alaskans, and honored the civic effort that created Alaska's constitution.

While the major celebration is over and the core of the project is complete, there will continue to be some public events through April 24, 2006, the anniversary of voter-approval of the constitution. Statehood followed and became official on Jan. 3, 1959.» The exhibit will travel throughout Alaska over the next couple of years, and the archived materials and lesson plans will continue to be available to scholars, students and others interested in learning about Alaska's constitutional history.

Participants at this weekend's events heard about plans to celebrate the achievement of statehood in 1959.» For more information about the statehood celebration, visit the website for the Alaska Statehood Celebration Commission at http://ww.dced.state.ak.us/statehood_commission.htm


For more information, contact Patricia Harper, Public Information Specialist, at (907) 786-1169 or patricia.harper@alaska.edu.