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Tlingit Stories and Songs Collection


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

SHI Grant Report Products to NPS, including explanation of grant project and activities, and sample recordings and transcriptions/translations of songs.

General files, including research papers, clan files, transcriptions and translations.

General working files of SHI employee and elder Johnny Marks (1943-2009), including research papers, clan files, transcriptions and translations.

Kaagwaantaan Clan recordings and files.

L’eeneidí Clan recordings and files.

L’uknax.ádi Clan recordings and files.

Shangukeidí Clan recordings.

Shangukeidí Clan recordings.

Shangukeidí Clan recordings and files.

T’akdeintaan Clan recordings and files.

T’akdeintaan Clan recordings and files.

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Tlingit Stories and Songs Collection, 2000-2002 | Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

By Zachary R. Jones, Archivist

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Collection Overview

Title: Tlingit Stories and Songs Collection, 2000-2002Add to your cart.

ID: MC/036

Primary Creator: Sealaska Heritage Institute

Other Creators: Tlingit Indians.

Extent: 11.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 03/07/2012

Subjects: Tlingit Indians--History., Tlingit language.

Languages: Tlingit, English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains materials generated from two Sealaska Heritage Institute NPS Tribal Preservation Grant projects, undertaken in 2000 and 2001 to document Tlingit clan stories and songs. These grants generated and resulted in numerous recordings, transcriptions, and translations of clan stories and songs, as well as discussions about protocols surrounding clan stories and songs.

The 2000 grant project sought to document clan stories because, to quote the project’s objectives, “clan stories are the source and basis of the complex Tlingit philosophy of humanism.” Clan stories document the language, culture, history, lifeways, and habitation of the Tlingit in Southeast Alaska. The project also sought to document the protocols for the transmission of oral narratives and issues concerning clan ownership of clan stories.

The 2001 grant project, “Continuing Our Culture through the Oral Tradition of Song,” documented clan songs that had never been documented and convened Tlingit elders that provided counsel and discussion on the protocols for song use and performance. The clan songs of four voluntary Tlingit clans are contained in this collection; the Kaagwaantaan, L’uknax.ádi, Shangukeidí, and T’akdeintaan.

This eleven-box collection is organized by general working files and then by clan recordings and files. The bulk of the collection contains recordings of songs and stories, followed by paperwork concerning these stories and songs, then translations and transcriptions of songs and stories.

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

Tlingit Indians--History.
Tlingit language.

Administrative Information

Repository: Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

Use Restrictions: Intellectual Properties Note: Since SHI adheres to the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials, and since we desire to honor Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian traditional cultural belief that clans retain the intellectual property rights to clan stories or songs, patrons who use or study clan songs or stories are asked to credit clan ownership to stories and songs.

Acquisition Source: Sealaska Heritage Institute, Culture Department

Acquisition Method: The materials in this collection were transferred to SHI’s archives on March 7, 2012 from SHI’s Culture Department. These materials were generated and collected by SHI’s Culture Department, then primarily under the direction of Kathy Miller, SHI Ethnologist, via two NPS Tribal Preservation Grants from 2000 to 2002.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1: SHI Grant Report Products to NPS, including explanation of grant project and activities, and sample recordings and transcriptions/translations of songs.],
[Box 2: General files, including research papers, clan files, transcriptions and translations.],
[Box 3: General working files of SHI employee and elder Johnny Marks (1943-2009), including research papers, clan files, transcriptions and translations.],
[Box 4: Kaagwaantaan Clan recordings and files.],
[Box 5: L’eeneidí Clan recordings and files.],
[Box 6: L’uknax.ádi Clan recordings and files.],
[Box 7: Shangukeidí Clan recordings.],
[Box 8: Shangukeidí Clan recordings.],
[Box 9: Shangukeidí Clan recordings and files.],
[Box 10: T’akdeintaan Clan recordings and files.],
[Box 11: T’akdeintaan Clan recordings and files.],

Box 9: Shangukeidí Clan recordings and files.Add to your cart.

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