Sealaska Heritage Institute

Weaver Lily Hope donates Chilkat Protector mask to Juneau’s Sealaska Heritage Institute

Jul 9, 2020

A Chilkat mask woven to document the coronavirus pandemic has been donated to Sealaska Heritage Institute in Juneau.

Famed weaver, Lily Hope, created a similar mask as part of an online art competition in April. It took her 60 hours to weave the mask, which was later acquired by the Burke Museum in Seattle. 

Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy, but lawsuit is moving ahead over ‘Ravenstail knitted coat’

Jul 7, 2020

Neiman Marcus is one of the clothing retailers that’s seen a decline in sales because of the coronavirus. The company filed for bankruptcy in early May — just weeks after it was sued by Sealaska Heritage Institute.

The company was selling a so-called “Ravenstail knitted coat” on its website, which the Institute alleges is a copy of a notable Alaska Native weaver’s design.

Sealaska Heritage honors longtime Juneau photographer Brian Wallace

Jun 22, 2020

During Celebration this week, Sealaska Heritage Institute recognized longtime Juneau photographer Brian Wallace with an award.

Locals likely know him and his work. He photographed the community as a staff photographer for The Juneau Empire over three decades. Now independent, he also shot every single Celebration, the weeklong cultural event that happens every two years in Juneau that began in 1982.

John Lawrence is a cultural interpreter for the Sealaska Heritage Institute visitor center. His father was Tlingit, and his mother was Haida. Those two groups, along with the Tsimshian people, make up the three major Alaska Native groups of Southeast Alaska.

As a cultural interpreter, Lawrence tries to answer any questions visitors might have. Questions like, “What’s that thing on the wall?” or, “What kind of paint did they use on that thing?”

  A rare wooden rattle attributed to a famous Tlingit artist sold at an art auction in California last month. The 230-year-old piece came from a private collector and sold for a half-million dollars.

When Sealaska Heritage Institute Native arts curator Steve Brown first laid eyes on the shaman’s rattle, he was amazed by the piece’s excellent condition.

“Nobody had ever seen this before,” Brown said. “It had just kind of come out of the woodwork.”

About 100 fluent speakers of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian languages are left in Alaska and Canada’s Interior. And a Southeast Alaska cultural center invites them to Juneau for an Alaska Native language summit.

Voices of Our Ancestors” will invite fluent speakers of Lingit, Xaad Kil and Sm’algyax. The three-day regional summit will be Nov. 13-15.

Sealaska Heritage Institute will cover transportation and hotel costs for fluent speakers living in Alaska.

Alaska’s Congressional Delegation vow to work for labeling of “Frankenfish”

Based on a story by Liz Ruskin, APRN

Alaskan tribes allowed to exercise same rights as lower 48 tribes

Tribes in Alaska are celebrating a decision that allows them to apply to have lands placed into trust status with the federal government. The Department of Interior issued regulations settling a long-running dispute between Interior, the state of Alaska, and tribes over an interpretation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA). 

Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a press conference in Anchorage yesterday she wants to see Republican Dan Sullivan as her partner in the Senate. Incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, has been touting his cooperation with Murkowski.


Republican Sean Parnell clashed with Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker during a debate in Juneau yesterday. Walker said the state is in a fiscal crisis. But Parnell said Walker has offered no solid plans on how to address the budget deficit.

A scathing report into allegations of sexual assault in the Alaska National Guard finds victims lack confidence in leadership, and fear retaliation for reporting misconduct. At Governor Sean Parnell's request in February, the National Guard Bureau Office of Complex Investigations reviewed documents going back several years and interviewed hundreds of guard members. Investigators found the Guard lacked standard procedures for handling complaints about sexual assault, misconduct, and hostile work environments.