Yesterday, Dr. Jill Biden paid a special visit to Bethel, Alaska to promote the Biden administration’s Internet for All initiative, which aims to connect communities to reliable high-speed Internet. (Remote regions in Alaska are considered to have some of the poorest Internet service in all of the U.S.). Joined by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, the First Lady spoke at the Bethel Regional High School. “With high-speed internet, you’ll have better access to critical health care, new educational tools, and remote job opportunities,” Biden told to the crowd. “It will change lives. It will save lives.”
Given the state is home to a large Alaskan Native population—including the Yup’ik, Tlingit, and Haida people, among others—Dr. Biden thoughtfully used her choice of attire to pay homage to Indigenous culture. The First Lady wore a Qaspeq in a patriotic red, white, and blue colorway; It’s a modern take on the traditional Alaskan Native jacket, which were first made of animal hides, gut skins, or feathered skins to keep the wearer warm and dry. Today, Qaspeqs come in an array of colors and finishes—hers appeared to be a cotton-canvas—but they often bear the signature graphic trims and pull-over silhouette (the styles can vary per tribe or community). While the garment was likely a gift to Biden, her choice to wear it in Alaska perfectly highlighted the beauty of Indigenous culture, and it intentionally paid respect to the first peoples of the state.
Read the full article here