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Native culture topic of last lecture in SHI lecture series

Posted: November 30, 2011 - 1:03am
Rosita Worl, president of Sealaska Heritage Institute, gives a talk titled "ANCSA: A Path to Assimilation or Cultural Survival" during a brown bag lecture Monday at Sealaska Heritage Institue boardroom.  Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Rosita Worl, president of Sealaska Heritage Institute, gives a talk titled "ANCSA: A Path to Assimilation or Cultural Survival" during a brown bag lecture Monday at Sealaska Heritage Institue boardroom.

“Our Tlingit tradition is an oral tradition, said state Sen. Albert Kookesh as he introduced Sealaska Board Vice Chair and President of Sealaska Heritage Institute Rosita Worl — the final speaker in the Native American Heritage Month lecture series.

“And she is very, very versed in that area,” Kookesh said.

Kookesh said Worl has peformed academic work at Harvard should be commended. He called her a great orator and a great leader.

Worl said her speech would be primarily about assimilation. Her research comes from part of a National Science Foundation study.

One of four study components, Worl’s component was Cultural Conservation and Revitilization Strategies.

She said her study focused on the question of Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act impact on the assimilation and cultural survival of Indians of Southeast Alaska.

Worl has taught ANCSA courses at the University of Alaska.

Worl’s Tlingít names are Yeidiklats’akw and Kaa haní. She is a Lukaax.ádi yadi, or child of the Sockeye Clan.

Worl’s speech covered the legal principals governing Alaska Natives, responses of Tlingit and Haida to colonialism and Alaska Natives’ initiative to integrate Native Values into the act.

Much of the discussion by previous speakers at Sealaska Heritage Institute lecture series on the act has been around the need for collaboration between Native corporations and tribes.

Worl discussed the act’s effects on the cultures that bind all Natives.

Worl questioned whether ANCSA strengthened or weakened southeast Alaska Native culture.

The act was a new approach to Native lands claims, Worl said. However, it still had aspects designed to assimalate Alaska Natives into western culture. An example was the provision that Alaska Natives born after 1971 would not be granted shares the new Native Corporations. It was believed that assimilated Native youth should not rely on their native cultures for support. Sealaska and other native corporations have subsiquently voted to internally overturn that provision.

Dr. Rosita Worl is the president of the Sealaska Heritage Institute, a member of the Alaska Federation of Natives board, and on the board of the Indigenous Languages Institute. She serves on the Alaska Conservation Foundation Native Writers Award Subcommittee, the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Examination Advisory Panel, the board of trustees for the National Museum of the American Indian, and as the NAGRPA Review committee chair.

To learn more about Rosita Worl visit http://www.sealaska.com/page/rosita_worl

Monday’s brown bag lecture by Rosita Worl was formally titled “ANCSA: A Path to Assimilation or Cultural Survival.” This talk was part of an annual lecture series sponsored by the institute to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. The 2011 lecture series was sponsored by MRV Architects and series friends McDowell Group and Kathy Ruddy.

Watch the video of Rosita Worl’s brown bag lecture at http://vimeo.com/32816841

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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