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Sealaska Heritage Institute Operational Recordings


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Council of Traditional Scholars

Latseen Leadership Academy

Sealaska Meetings and Reports

Language Department Recordings

Celebration Presentations

Sealaska Heritage Foundation Elders Meetings

Special Events Recordings

Naa Kahida Theater Recordings

Contact us about this collection

Sealaska Heritage Institute Operational Recordings, 1982-present | Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

By Alyssa Peterson, UAS Intern

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Collection Overview

Title: Sealaska Heritage Institute Operational Recordings, 1982-presentAdd to your cart.

ID: MC/032

Primary Creator: Sealaska Heritage Institute

Extent: 0.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 00/00/1982

Subjects: Haida Indians--History., Tlingit Indians--History., Tsimshian Indians--History.

Languages: English, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains the audio/visual recordings associated with the programs operated by Sealaska Heritage Institute from 1983 to the present. The records represent the efforts towards language and cultural knowledge preservation through various programs and councils. The collection has been arranged into seven series:

Series 1:  Council of Traditional Scholars

Series 2:  Latseen Leadership Academy

Series 3:  Sealaska Meetings and Reports

Series 4:  Language Department Recordings

Series 5:  Celebration Presentations

Series 6:  Sealaska Heritage Foundation Elders Meetings

Series 7:  Special Events Recordings

Series 8:  Naa Kahida Theater Recordings

Biographical Note

The Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is a regional Native non-profit organization founded for the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. SHI was established in 1981 by Sealaska Corp., a for-profit company formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). SHI, formerly Sealaska Heritage Foundation, administers Sealaska Corp.'s cultural and educational programs.

SHI was conceived by Clan Leaders, Traditional Scholars and Elders at the first Sealaska Elders Conference in 1980. During that meeting, the Elders likened Native culture to a blanket. The late George Davis (Kichnáalx—Lk’aanaaw) of Angoon, spoke these memorable words: “We don’t want what you did here to only echo in the air, how our grandfathers used to do things…  Yes. You have unwrapped it for us.  That is why we will open again this container of wisdom left in our care.” These wise traditional leaders told the new leaders that their hands were growing weary of holding onto the metaphorical blanket, this "container of wisdom." They said they were transferring this responsibility to the Corporation. In response to this directive, Sealaska Corporation created its non-profit arm, Sealaska Heritage Institute, to administer cultural and educational programs for the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian.

During its first decade of operation, under the leadership of David Katzeek, SHI began to administer its Scholarship Program from funds set aside by Sealaska Corporation for this purpose. The second major focus at that time was the documentation of oral traditions, a project led by Tlingit scholar Dr. Nora Marks Dauenhauer and her husband, Dr. Richard Dauenhauer. Over nearly a 20-year period, these efforts led to several major publications by the Institute of the Dauenhauer’s work, including:  “Because We Cherish You…” Sealaska Elders Speak to the Future, in 1981; Haa Shuká, Our Ancestors, Volume I of our Tlingit Oral Narratives (1987); Haa Tuwunáagu Yís: for Healing our Spirit. Vol. 2, Tlingit Oral Narratives. (1990); the Third Edition of Beginning Tlingit in 1991; Haa Kusteeyí, Our Culture: Tlingit Life Stories (1994); and Aan Aduspelled X’úx’, Tlingit Spelling Book in 1999. A number of these publications were co-published by the Institute and University of Washington Press. During this period, the Institute also created Naa Kahídi Theater, which won national acclaim for its dramatic presentation of Native legends.

One year after SHI was founded the Institute sponsored the first United Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Traditional Celebration, held in Juneau. Celebration '82 was so popular that our Board of Trustees decided the festival should become a biennial event. New dance groups began to form in response to Celebration, and every other year, the festival grew. Today, nearly every community in Southeast as well as Anchorage, the Seattle area, Hawaii and Canada, are represented by roughly two-thousand dancers in nearly fifty dance groups. During Celebration, workshops on various aspects of traditional culture and history also occur. Because SHI is the only major region-wide organization dedicated to cultural preservation, its Board of Trustees has mandated that Celebration be dedicated solely to honoring our traditional culture.

More recently, while continuing to honor the Institute's mission statement, “To perpetuate the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures,” the Trustees in 1997 adopted language restoration as the foremost priority of the Institute. Few funds were available initially for this objective, but the Institute launched an aggressive fund-raising campaign, and today, SHI sponsors and supports numerous language and culture programs across Southeast Alaska. The Institute also sponsors archival projects, historical research, and new publications. Since SHI’s founding, it has had four presidents; David Katzeek (1980-1991), Dennis Demmert (1992-1996), Ted Wright (1996-1998), and Rosita Worl (1998-present).

Subject/Index Terms

Haida Indians--History.
Tlingit Indians--History.
Tsimshian Indians--History.

Administrative Information

Repository: Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

Acquisition Source: Sealaska Heritage Institute

Acquisition Method: The material in the collection was generated by SHI since SHI’s creation and the collection will continue to grow as SHI creates more recordings of this nature and adds them to this collection.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Council of Traditional Scholars],
[Series 2: Latseen Leadership Academy ],
[Series 3: Sealaska Meetings and Reports],
[Series 4: Language Department Recordings ],
[Series 5: Celebration Presentations ],
[Series 6: Sealaska Heritage Foundation Elders Meetings],
[Series 7: Special Events Recordings],
[Series 8: Naa Kahida Theater Recordings],

Series 5: Celebration Presentations Add to your cart.
Box 1: RecordingsAdd to your cart.

Audio recording of a song composed by Harold Jacobs for the Sealaska Heritage Foundation, date unknown. Cassette tape.

Audio recording labeled ‘Planning for Celebration ‘84”, 1984. Cassette tape.

Audio recording of an art lecture by Robert Davidson, 6/4/2004. CD.

Audio recording labeled ‘Haida TPR, Celebration 2006’. CD.

Moving image recording labeled ‘Ceremony Honoring Peter Jack, Celebration 2006’. DVD.

Moving image recording labeled ‘Soapberry Contest, Celebration 2008’. DVD.

Moving image recording of a lecture by Robert Davidson, entitled ‘Being Successful is no Accident: The Business of Art’, 6/5/2010. DVD. 2 copies.

Moving image recording of a lecture by Brian Kemp PhD, entitled ‘Mitochondrial DNA Variation Among Native Southeastern Alaskans, 6/4/2010. DVD. 2 copies.

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