Twelve dance groups participated in the first Celebration in 1982. This weekend almost 50 dance groups from throughout Alaska, western Canada, Washington and Hawaii converged in Juneau to perform at Celebration 2002.
Three days of events wrapped up Saturday night, with closing ceremonies at Centennial Hall. Related activities continue this afternoon with canoe races and a picnic at Sandy Beach.
This year marked the 20th anniversary of Celebration. The biennial gathering of Tlingit, Tsimshian and Haida people and their guests is organized by the Sealaska Heritage Institute.
"It's growing," said Don Bremner of Sealaska Heritage Institute. "If we support this properly, there's so many positive things that can come out of this. The language, songs and dances are important not only to Natives but to all society."