Consortium to host Gene Tagaban storytelling workshops

Posted: Sunday, April 05, 2009

SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium will host noted Tlingít performer and artist Gene Tagaban for workshops in the art of storytelling. Admission is free and all are invited. Workshops will take place in Sitka, Kake, Haines, Klukwan, Petersburg and Wrangell.

Tagaban shares his wisdom and talent through dance, Native flute and storytelling. He is of combined Tlingít, Cherokee and Filipino heritage. Tagaban, whose Tlingít name is Gaay Yaaw, is of the Tak'deintaan Raven Freshwater Sockeye clan of Hoonah and a child of the Wooshkeetaan Eagle Shark clan of Juneau. Tagaban started dancing when he was 5 years old and he grew up listening to and learning the songs, dances and stories of Alaska's Tlingít people.

The workshops are funded by SEARHC grant programs that address chronic disease prevention with subsistence food harvesting and preparation alongside traditional arts and wellness. Tagaban will guide participants through the structure and art of storytelling as a celebration of wellness. His teaching blends commentary, comedy, story, laughter, insight, vision, spirit and honor.

"Health is linked to all aspects of a person's daily choices and personal wellness ideals," said Martha Pearson, SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women's Health Educator. "How people tell their own stories is the basis for all the choices they make each day."

Tagaban's programs emphasize the lessons one gains and how one learns to be a better person through stories. These lessons involve the role of humans in the natural world and the importance of family and lineage in one's own identity. He also will introduce digital storytelling and discuss how it can be used to share stories.

The workshops and their times, locations and local contacts are:

• Sitka - 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 8, at Sheet'ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi (Sitka Community House), 200 Katlian St., contact SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women's Health Educator Martha Pearson, 907-966-8783.

• Kake - Monday, April 13, location and time TBD, contact SEARHC Community Wellness Advocate Georgie Reese, 907-785-3260.

• Haines - 7 p.m., Tuesday April 14, at ANB/ANS Hall, contact SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women's Health Patient Educator Pam Sloper 907-766-6367.

• Klukwan - 9 a.m.,Wednesday April 15, at Klukwan School, contact SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women's Health Patient Educator Pam Sloper 907-766-6367.

• Wrangell - 6 p.m., Thursday April 16, at the SNO Building, contact SEARHC Health Advocate Tammi Meissner, 907-874-3034.

• Petersburg - Monday, April 20, location and time TBD, contact SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women's Health Educator Martha Pearson, 907-966-8783.

For more details about the shows, please call Martha Pearson at 907-966-8783. For more information about Gene Tagaban, go to

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