Sealaska to honor warriors, veterans for Native American Heritage Month

JUNEAU — Sealaska Heritage Institute and Sealaska will honor traditional Native warriors and veterans at the institute’s annual lecture series to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.


The lectures will be held from noon-1 p.m. in Shuká Hít (the clan house) at the Walter Soboleff Building. The talks also will be videotaped and posted online.

This year’s series will feature a panel discussion on Tlingit and Native American code talkers and lectures on traditional warrior training and Tlingit and Haida armor and weapons.

Alaska Natives and American Indians have served in the U.S. Armed Forces in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War and in greater numbers per capita than any other ethnic group — facts unknown to many Americans. During World War II, more than 44,000 Native Americans and Alaska Natives served in the U.S. military. More than 42,000 served during the Vietnam War as well. Today, an estimated 24,000 Native American and Alaska Native men and women are on active duty, and more than 150,000 veterans self-identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.

The first lecture, “Terrifying Visages: Armored Warriors of the northern Northwest Coast,” will be given by Steve Hendrickson, curator of collections at the Alaska State Museum, on Nov. 3.

On Thursday, Nov. 10, there will be a screening of Samantha Farinella’s documentary “Hunting in Wartime,” which profiles the lives of Tlingits from Hoonah who fought in the Vietnam War, followed by a panel discussion that will include Native veterans and special guest U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan.

“Honoring Our Nations’ Code Talkers,” held on Tuesday, Nov. 22, will feature Ozzie Sheakley, Southeast Alaska Native Veterans Commander and Judith Avila, best-selling author of “Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 29, will be “The Way of the Warrior.” Kai Monture of the K’iniex Kwaan in Yakutat will talk about the training he received from his grandfather, George Ramos, an expert on Tlingit warriors.


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