Three new bronzed cedar house posts will soon be part of the downtown Juneau streetscape.
Sealaska Heritage Institute announced on Thursday that the posts — carved by renown Southeast Alaska Native artists — will be displayed prominently outside on the corner of Front and Seward Streets near the SHI Walter Soboleff building.
SHI President Rosita Worl called the posts exquisite and “stunning.”
“I could not believe it when I first saw photos of the posts at the foundry — the pieces have exceeded my hopes and expectations,” Worl said in a release. “It’s exciting to see these posts carved in a traditional way in wood and then cast in a contemporary material. These pieces demonstrate that our cultures and our art are alive, thriving and evolving through our younger generations.”
Tlingit Stephen Jackson, Haida TJ Young and Tsimshian David R. Boxley each carved one of the three posts.
The post by Young depicts the image and story of Wasgo, a supernatural figure in the Haida culture known for having the power to successfully hunt killer whales. Boxley’s post depicts Txeemsm (Raven), the mythical hero of ancient Tsimshian stories. Jackson’s post highlights aspects of the feminine and maternal character not as often depicted in carved form. The post depicts the complexity of the way in which Tlingit culture places value on feminine strength, he said.
The posts will be unveiled in a public ceremony at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 26. Everyone is welcome.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.
Program aims to immerse children in Tlingit language
Thanks to a grant, Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is on its way to establishing a program to teach Alaska Native languages to young children.
The Administration for Children and Families, Administration for Native Americans (ANA) granted CCTHITA a $1 million, three-year grant, according to a news release Friday. The grant will help the tribal organization operate a Tlingit Language Immersion Nest (Haa Yóo Xatángi Kúdi), a program that will find ways to immerse children ages 3-5 in Tlingit language.
The program, according to a CCTHITA release, will train language instructors and provide language services for families as well as the children. The “nest” name in the title comes from the program’s mission statement, which reads, in part, “Our language is like a tree root, and upon it Our Language Nest was built.”
CCTHITA Cultural Heritage & Education Manager Sarah Dybdahl will oversee the development of the program.
CCTHITA President Richard Peterson said he hopes the program is the start of even larger endeavors.
“Our languages are in a state of emergency and it’s undeniable that the health of our children is directly tied to our languages,” Peterson said in the release. “We must do everything we can to perpetuate our languages and cultures, and I hope to one day have a full language immersion tribal school for all Southeast indigenous languages.”
SHI offering horn spoon carving workshops
Sealaska Heritage Institute is offering horn spoon carving workshops in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan in an effort to ensure the endangered art of goat horn spoon carving are passed on to future generations.
The workshop is a four-day course, that teaches technical skills and techniques required to create the goat horn spoon. It’s a complex process, so the course will touch on the basics of carving the horn, but will focus primarily on molding the horn into the traditional horn spoon shape. Also, because of the rarity of goat horns, SHI wll use similar horns from bulls and sheep as well.
The Juneau workshop will be held from Aug. 31-Sept. 3, with teacher Steve Brown; the Sitka workshop will be from Sept. 7-10, with teacher Tommy Joseph; and the Ketchikan workshop will be held from Sept. 21-24 with teacher Steve Brown. Applications deadline for the Juneau course is Aug. 16; Sitka, Aug. 23; and Ketchikan, Sept. 6.
Tlingit & Haida hosts naming contest
Pick the name of Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s new catering service, and you could win free prizes.
The tribal government said it is crowdsourcing names for its new catering company, to be located at 320 W. Willoughby Avenue (Andrew Hope Building) in Juneau.
The winner will be announced at the catering company’s official grand opening (date to be determined).
Submit name suggestions via SurveyMonkey (link: https://surveymonkey.com/r/THDTDSX) by close of business Friday, Aug. 10 for a chance to win prizes, including $100 cash, $50 coffee card and a gift bag.