Sealaska Heritage Institute

The first Tlingit opera in production is about the Tlingit-Russian wars at the start of the 19th century. The opera is still in the early development stages but the creators say it’s bound to be an epic production.

Sealaska Heritage Institute recently announced the opera’s development which will be based on the true story of the Tlingit-Russian wars in 1802 and 1804.

Sealaska Heritage lecture series highlights need for more Native researchers

Feb 17, 2021

Inclusivity has always been an issue for scientific fields like paleogenomics, which is the study of ancient DNA. Several academic researchers who document Southeast Alaska’s ancient history are highlighting the need to retain more Native researchers in a lecture series hosted by Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Community discussion surrounding a study of generational trauma has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sealaska Heritage Institute and the Hoonah Indian Association are collaborating on a study that looks at the potential impact of historical trauma on Alaska Native people.

Participants were recruited beginning in 2019.

Researchers from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana were scheduled to visit Hoonah and Juneau to discuss the preliminary results and next steps.

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.