Mark McKernan has just started as the new director of cultural interpretive services for Huna Totem Corp. The job includes leading a number of programs to introduce Tlingit culture to Juneau visitors and residents.
McKernan has held a number of roles in the travel industry, spending much of his career in Southeast Alaska. He’s worked in product development for Lindblad Expeditions and Cruise West and has been an interpretive naturalist for Glacier Bay Cruiseline, as well as being a certified interpretive guide.
Prior to joining Huna Totem Corp., McKernan served as a consultant, creating educational and interpretive programs for a variety of travel products.
At Huna, he will work on many projects in this area, such as leading a team of interpreters in sharing Huna Tlingit stories with cruise passengers in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
Other projects include the “Our Waterway of Life” video program, leading group discussions and traditional Tlingit beading and carving demonstrations. The interpreters use these projects to reach out to cruise ship passengers.
“I want to empower our interpreters to find the best ways to communicate their experiences with the public,” McKernan said in a release. “There are so many more ways for travelers to expand their perception of the world through the landscape of Glacier Bay and the Tlingit culture. I think there’s also tremendous opportunity for us to reach out to more travelers.”
A group of four cultural interpreters will also share a living history of Glacier Bay’s indigenous people aboard 154 Holland America Line, Alaskan Dream Cruises and Lindblad Expeditions cruise ships in Glacier Bay this season.
“This program and these stories are in the DNA of the Huna Tlingit people and our company,” states Huna Totem Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Gaffaney. “Mark’s background in interpretation and his love of the area will allow him to further improve this program that has been enriching visitors’ experience and honoring the Tlingit culture for the past 11 seasons.”