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Wilsey & Ham, Inc. 14(h)1 Historic Sites Recordings Collection


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Tapes 3-29

Tapes 30-61

Tapes 62-101.

Tapes 102-114.


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Wilsey & Ham, Inc. 14(h)1 Historic Sites Recordings Collection, 1974-1975 | Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

By Zachary R. Jones, Archivist

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Collection Overview

Title: Wilsey & Ham, Inc. 14(h)1 Historic Sites Recordings Collection, 1974-1975Add to your cart.

ID: MC/041

Primary Creator: Sealaska Corporation

Other Creators: Haida Indians, Tlingit Indians.

Extent: 5.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 01/15/2012

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of audio recordings generated by the Sealaska Corporation, shortly after the passing of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) of 1971 in effort to professionally locate and document Tlingit and Haida historic and sacred sites in Southeast Alaska. Much of this effort was connected to 14(h)(1) legislation for the Conveyance of Cemetery Sites and Historical Places as outlined by ANCSA. To document these historic and sacred sites, sites inhabited by the Tlingit and Haida for thousands of years, Sealaska hired independent Seattle-based contractors Wilsey & Ham, Inc., who traveled to villages across Southeast Alaska and interviewed the most knowledgeable Tlingit and Haida elders about sites. Their work occurred over the 1974 and 1975 years, resulting in approximately fifty-seven cassette recordings that contributed to Sealaska’s privately published Native Cemetery and Historic Sites of Southeast Alaska (1975).

These recordings, captured on cassette, contain detailed information about the historic sites and their habitation by the Tlingit and Haida’s most knowledgeable elders of the period. These elders not only provided information on the locations of these sites, but also on their history, cultural connection, stories, associated songs, and indigenous place names in the Tlingit and Haida languages. As a general, the content on these recordings is presented in Tlingit and Haida, but always with a translator present and provided English translation. The sites that Sealaska worked to document and protect with this project included historic village settlements—both permanent and seasonal settlement sites, cemetery or grave sites, sacred sites of cultural value, petroglyphs/pictographs, subsistence sites, forts and battle areas, gardens, and other sites that are of special interest to the history and culture of the Tlingit and Haida.

The recordings constitution this collection were originally numbered by Wilsey & Ham, Inc., such as Tape 1, 2, and so on up to circa Tape 114, which serves as the numbering system for this collection. Each side of each cassette was given its own number, so for example, Tapes 9-10 are actually Side A and B of one single cassette. Thus, although Wilsey & Ham, Inc. created tapes that are numbered 1-114, there are actually circa 57 cassettes. The recordings, migrated from cassette to CD in 2012 by Sealaska Heritage Institute (digital content preserved), have been arranged according to the numbering system applied by Wilsey & Ham, Inc. Partial or full transcriptions of a few recordings from the collection have been generated, though some transcriptions are incomplete.

Administrative Information

Repository: Sealaska Heritage Institute Archives

Access Restrictions: RESTRICTIONS: Researchers should know that this collection is not open to the general public, since these recordings contain information about 14(h)1 sites. To prevent further vandalism to these sites, only researchers with reasonable cause are allowed to examine these recordings. It should also be noted that Sealaska hired an independent law firm to determine the legalities of administering these recordings based on laws governing recordings, privacy rights, and 14(h)1 issues, and the law firm determined that Sealaska has the legal right to administer these recordings.

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.

Physical Access Note: NOTE: It should be noted that this recordings collection may be incomplete at this time, as Tapes 1-2 (David Kadashan on Hoonah), Tapes 34-35 (Jimmie George & Eddie Jack on Angoon), Tapes 82-83 (Matilda M. Paul and Elise Louis on Wrangell), Tapes 84-85 (Herbert Bradley on Wrangell), Tapes 88-89 (Jonas Hallingstad and Marilee Mathisen on Petersburg), and Tape 115 (Si Dennis on Skagway) are not included. However, Wilsey & Ham, Inc. do appear to have omitted some numbers in their numbering system, likely including Tapes 63, 105, and 107 which appear to have never existed.

Acquisition Source: Sealaska Corporation

Acquisition Method: The materials in this collection were obtained by SHI in two batches. An initial accession of materials was located amid unprocessed SHI operational recordings on July 22, 2010, which had been in the possession of SHI prior to 2007. This batch amounted to approximately 10 recordings, constituting an incomplete set. The collection was eventually made complete in January 2012 as SHI was granted access to the Sealaska Corporation’s collection in order to duplicate and migrate the cassette recordings to CD, thereby archiving second and digital copies of these recordings.

Related Materials: NOTE: Also of importance, between 1978 and 1981 the BIA engaged in a similar recordings venture, interviewing a number of Tlingit and Haida elders about 14(h)1 sites. This separate though smaller collection is also held by Sealaska Heritage Institute, as MC 37: BIA Southeast Alaska 14(h)1 Historic Sites Oral Histories Interview Recordings Collection.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Tapes 3-29],
[Box 2: Tapes 30-61],
[Box 3: Tapes 62-101.],
[Box 4: Tapes 102-114.],
[Box 5: Transcriptions.],

Box 4: Tapes 102-114.Add to your cart.

Tapes 102-03:  Audio recording of a Daisy W. Phillips (b. 1912) and Paul Eli Phillips (b. 1912) on Tapes 102-3, then on Tape 103 Jenny David Marks (b. 1893), an unnamed male elder, and a unnamed translator [Roy?], speaking on 14(h)1 sites, Haines, December 1974. Note: audio quality of Tape 102 is scratchy and poor in some places. Tape 103 briefly mentions/argues that the Jilkaat Tlingit participated in the Battle of Sitka in 1802. Marks group orates in Tlingit and English the stories associated with sites.

Tape 104:        Audio recording of Jenny David Marks and company, speaking on 14(h)1 sites, Haines, 1/14/75. [Note: Tape 105 is blank]

Tape 106:        Audio recording of Victor Hotch (b. 1897) speaking on 14(h)1 sites, Klukwan, 1/15/75.

Tapes 108-09:  Audio recording of Willis M. Peters (b. 1900), speaking on 14(h)1 sites, Juneau, 1/17/75.

Tapes 110-11:  Audio recording of Charles Johnson (b. 1900), Susie James (b. 1896), Joseph James (b. 1927), and Annie Jimmie (b. 1885), speaking on 14(h)1 sites, Juneau, 1/17/75.

Tapes 112-13:  Audio recording of Cecilia Kunz (b. 1910), Edward Kunz (b. 1910), and Willie Marks (b. 1902) speaking on 14(h)1 sites, Juneau, 1/18/75.

Tape 114:        Audio recording of Alice Nelson (b. 1917), speaking on 14(h)1 sites, Juneau, 1/18/75.

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