Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Cabinet card photograph of Haida man standing in front of a Haida home with totem at Howkan Village, wood shavings in foreground, by Edward DeGroff, circa 1880s. Richard Wood Photograph Collection, PO049, Item 55.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Selina Everson and Ethel Lund will give a joint lecture on Monday, Nov. 30, on the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS).
The talk is part of a brown-bag lecture series sponsored by Sealaska Heritage Institute to celebrate Native American Month.
Everson serves on the executive committee of the ANS and has a long history of public service, especially in Juneau schools, where she is known as Grandma Selena. Lund also serves on the ANS executive committee and is a visionary in the field of Native health care.
The lecture is scheduled from noon-1 pm in the 4th floor boardroom in the Sealaska building in Juneau. It’s open to the public and free of charge.
Image of ANS leadership and members. From the Rosa Miller Photograph Collection, PO057, SHI Special Collections.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Watch Daniel Lee Henry's talk about nineteenth-century encounters between Natives and non-Natives in Chilkat country online via Sealaska Heritage Institute's video library.
Cabinet card photograph of Chilkat Tlingit at Klukwan posing in regalia for a potlatch or event, by Winter & Pond, 1895. From the Richard Wood Photograph Collection, PO049, Item 68, SHI Special Collections.
Friday, November 6, 2009
The Sealaska Heritage Institute recorded her hour-long lecture, which can now be viewed by the public via Sealaska’s website by clicking here.
Overall, Breinig’s lecture did a good job in addressing the complexities of how Southeast Alaska Natives grappled with statehood up to 1959, as well as balancing the direction that historical memory has moved since that time. Her arguments came down to a handful of complex points, some briefly summarized below. But for a full understanding of her arguments, interested parties are strongly encouraged to watch the lecture via the link provided above.
First, regarding some of Breinig’s findings, she discovered that historical records showed most Southeast Alaska Natives generally supported statehood, but only tepidly and if conditions for statehood favored—and didn’t hurt—Native land claims, subsistence rights, and other important aspects. Southeast Alaska Natives, through Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood’s efforts, the work of their lawyers William L. Paul Sr. and Jr., and the ANB attorney James E. Curry, had previously fought against some statehood bills that attempted to deprive Alaska Natives of land, most notably in 1950, but they did cautiously go along with the 1959 statehood bill—though most clearly had hoped statehood would have brought more to Alaska Natives (additional details on this are mentioned in Breinig’s lecture). In many ways however, although statehood did not resolve a number of important issues for Alaska Natives, it set in motion events that helped with the solidification of the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act of 1971.
One important point made by Breinig that cannot be underestimated is the issue of fishing rights and subsistence. In many ways statehood for Alaska Natives revolved around land claims and subsistence. Breinig accurately noted how large corporate fish traps, which were run by lower-48 corporations that were protected by Federal laws while Alaska was a territory (and not a state), were vehemently opposed by most Southeast Alaska Native villages. Most villages were opposed to fish traps for many reasons, but one major reason revolved around the fact that fish traps affected subsistence fishing. These fish traps were taking fish from Southeast Alaska Native subsistence fishermen, causing food shortages in Native villages during the winter months. Not only were these fish traps enormous, they were very ecologically devastating to salmon populations and migration patterns. With fewer salmon in Southeast Alaskan waters, salmon migrations changing, and with laws that protected these fishing trap operations at the expense of Alaska Native subsistence needs, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian saw statehood as a way to break corporate fishing powers. As Breinig noted, statehood broke the hold of corporate fishing operations in Alaska as state legislators were able to soon enact laws that banned fishing traps (since the state had jurisdiction over previously federally controlled fishing laws). So in some ways, through statehood Southeast Alaska Natives gained some ground in resolving subsistence problems of the period. Clearly however, the battle for Native subsistence in Alaska was not resolved with statehood, nor has it been resolved today, as Alaska Natives work tirelessly toward enacting political reform that will satisfactorily address the issue of subsistence. Overall, Breinig’s research shows the complex issues that moving toward statehood produced and how Alaska Natives dealt with these heavy issues.
To conclude, Breinig has done great work and conducted ample research for this project. Importantly, for this project Breinig spent many hours at SHI Special Collections, primarily looking at our Walter A. Soboleff Papers and our Curry-Weissbrodt Papers collections. SHI Special Collections is committed to serving researchers and furthering education about the history of the Alaska Natives. We are also working to obtain additional records that document the history of Southeast Alaska Natives. As Breinig mentioned in her lecture, the efforts of the Alaska Native Sisterhood remain to be told or documented because archival records of the Alaska Native Sisterhood remain in private hands, and thus off limits to researchers. SHI Special Collections is looking to obtain additional Alaska Native Sisterhood records so the Sisterhood’s work can be documented and their story told. If you would like to donate or help SHI secure a donation of Alaska Native Sisterhood records, please contact Special Collections staff today.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a noon lecture series in November to celebrate Native American Month. The brown-bag lunch series will focus on topics such as Native history and languages, Native art and the statehood movement. “Native people have such a rich history in
Tlingit leader Byron Mallott will give a lecture on Monday, Nov. 2, on the development of Alaska Native corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the efforts by Alaska Natives to transform the corporations into “Native” institutions in the face of Congress’ competing intent to assimilate Alaska Natives economically through profit-making corporations. Mallott is the former CEO and President of Sealaska Corporation and serves as a Fellow with the First Alaskans Institute. He is the clan leader of the Kwaashk’i Kwáan Clan of Yakutat.
Jeane Breinig will give a lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 4, on Southeast Native perspectives on statehood. Breinig is an associate professor of English at the
Jordan Lachler will give a lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 10, on Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian linguistic origins and relationships. Lachler is a linguist at Sealaska Heritage Institute who specializes in Haida. He is the editor of an upcoming Haida dictionary and phrasebook to be published by Sealaska Heritage Institute.
Daniel Lee Henry will give a lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 17, on nineteenth century encounters between Natives and non-Natives in Chilkat country. Henry is an award-winning author, teacher and journalist based in the Haines area. He has recorded numerous oral histories of Chilkat/Chilkoot Tlingit Elders and is currently working on the book Dancing at Deer Rock: Toward Community Among Warriors, a rhetorical history of land use confrontation in the communities of the Northern Lynn Canal.
Wally Olson will give a lecture on Thursday, Nov. 19, on contact between Alaska Natives and European explorers in the late nineteenth century. Olson will show from specific events that most of the time the explorers (not always the fur traders later) and Native people got along well because it was a win-win situation. The explorers wanted information, and the Natives wanted trade goods, so they were "pragmatic partners." Olson is an author, a professor of Anthropology (Emeritus) with the
Richard and Nora Marks Dauenhauer will give a lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 24, on relations between Russians and Tlingit from the 1790s through 1818, an era when Russians expanded into Southeast Alaska to take control of the
The lectures will be held from 12-1 pm in the 4th floor boardroom at
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a regional nonprofit representing the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Last week SHI Special Collections obtained a new display case which has been placed in the Reading Room. This case was purchased with grant funds via the Rasmuson Foundation and will now feature a rotating display of SHI Special Collections’ holdings. Now set up, the case currently features a small display on the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood. Inside the case is an original Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) Camp 2 meeting minutes ledger dating from 1935-1945, William L. Paul Sr.’s original ANB cap (both featured in picture), an original 1944 letter written by Elizabeth Peratrovich while Grand President of the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS), and two rare books on ANB and ANS. Overall, SHI Special Collections staff are grateful to have this display case so we can better market our great collection holdings and foster educational research.
The Sealaska Heritage Institute collects materials that document the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people and makes these materials available to the public for educational purposes. SHI employs an
Monday, August 31, 2009
Last month Wallace Olson, UAS emeritus anthropology instructor and author of numerous books about
In regards to the recordings of Walter Williams, on these two cassettes Williams reads a story about the history of
Also of importance, upon donation SHI archival staff took steps to help preserve and make these recordings more readily available. The cassettes have been placed in a special archival box in our locked storage facility for care. Additionally, because cassette tapes and the quality of audio captured on cassette tapes can deteriorate over time, Special Collections staff had the audio recording transferred to CD format. To accomplish this we played the cassette’s audio through a special software program, enhanced the recording and eliminated background noise digitally, and then saved the improved recording on a CD. Now patrons can more easily listen to these recordings on CD and we can more readily make copies for interested patrons. We are proud to care for materials of this nature. SHI Special Collections obtains most of its collections through donation.
Friday, July 31, 2009
The Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) recently obtained a new Haida art item for inclusion in our
The piece SHI obtained from Helgesen consists of a carved and painted war helmet modeled after an eighteenth century war helmet. War helmets, which were held as clan property, were an integral piece in a warriors’ armor for both physical and spiritual protection. After the introduction of rifles, their use was relegated to the ceremonial sphere. This helmet is a quality art piece that took great skill to create, and we are proud to add it to our collection. We plan to place it on display in our library Reading Room when a new display case we recently purchased arrives.
Regarding Helgesen’s inspiration for this helmet, it was modeled after a Tlingit war helmet that sold at a private auction in
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has acquired two photographs documenting Southeast Alaska Native cultures from circa 1883 to the 1990s.
Longtime photojournalist Brian Wallace donated several hundred images, including photos of the founding fathers of the Alaska Native Brotherhood (circa 1912) and past Alaska Native Sisterhood presidents. He also donated several hundred images of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood taken from 1965 to 1995, with the majority taken by Wallace in the 1980s. He made the donation in memory of his late parents, Dorothy (Natstklaa) and Amos L. (Jeet Yaaw Dustaa) Wallace.
"Both my parents were lifetime members of the ANB and ANS respectively. They devoted most of their lives fighting for Alaska Native rights. By donating all the photos of the ANB and ANS to Sealaska Heritage Institute I wish to honor their memory and accomplishments, as well as the other ANB/ANS elders past and present," Wallace said.
SHI President Rosita Worl said it’s a privilege to have a collection given in honor of Dorothy and Amos. “Dorothy and Amos were active in the Native community and Amos was a well-known artist and mentor to young artists,” Worl said.
Wallace’s donation has helped the institute build a repository of materials that document the ANB-ANS, said SHI Archivist
“It’s important that we have the records of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood because it helps document the activities they’ve done presently and in the past, and it helps capture the importance of these organizations,” said Jones, adding the institute also in recent times received donations of materials documenting the ANB-ANS from other people, including ANB Grand President Emeritus Dr. Walter Soboleff.
“SHI Special Collections really wants to collect these types of materials because it gives voice to great achievements in Alaska Native history. And the more materials like this we have, the better our library is for researchers,” he said.
SHI also acquired twenty historical images dating between 1883 and 1941. One of the more unusual photos shows the interior of a house and a display of Tlingit regalia and American military uniforms. The photo, obtained from Alaskan Heritage Bookshop owner
“We have some photographs of village life, of early village scenes, of people gathering for certain events. All in all, these pictures are really great and give us insights into the way people lived and how life was over a hundred years ago,” Jones said.
The institute collects materials that document the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people and makes these materials available to the public for educational purposes. SHI employs an
Friday, June 12, 2009
One objective of SHI’s
During the late 1800s it was quite popular for travelers to visit places around the world, and then publish their travel accounts as a book. The adjacent scan shows the title page for the 1885 book A Trip to Alaska by George Warden. It discusses a trip Warden made to
There are not only great and interesting books printed in the English language, but many in European languages since Europeans visited Alaska regularly before and after it became an American territory. Often these non-English language books go unstudied, but a careful observation shows that they can yield interesting information for those not fluent in European languages. One special book of interest is the 1924 Swedish language book Sjutton ar i
Friday, May 22, 2009
We recently obtained two new historical photographs for inclusion in our archive; one of
When we made contact with a person at the Cape Fox Village Special Collections about the first photo, they were quite excited about it (shown below). Our contact reported that this photo was likely from the Harriman Expedition in 1899. They reported that “if you look near the center where the house that does not have a front....where you see just the frame....well that house was the Xoots.hit (Brown Bear House) of the Teikweidí Clan Leader Thomas Johnson. If you look real close you can see the Teikweidí pole in front of it. You can see the bear cubs climbing down the pole.” Since the Brown Bear is one of the Teikweidí crests, it’s known to belong to the Teikweidí. Sadly the Harriman Expedition removed many items from
The second photograph shows an interior view of “Capt. Jake’s” house at Killisnoo. Kitcheenault or Kichnaalx was Jake’s Tlingit name. He was from the Deisheetaan clan of Angoon, but he was also known as Saginaw Jake, Chief Jake, and Killisnoo Jake. Jake was a policeman at Killisnoo for a number of years and involved with the US Navy, and his uniforms are visible in this photo. Many photographs were taken of Jake by professional photographers around the turn of the 20th century with images of Jake posing in his uniforms. To view some of these photos go to the Alaska’s Digital Archives and type in the keyword “Jake”, click search, and a numerous will appear. The photograph we obtained was taken by professional photographer Frank La Roche and is interesting because it shows how Jake displayed his traditional regalia alongside his American uniforms. There are many pictures in circulation of Jake wearing this regalia and uniforms, but this may be one of few ever taken of his regalia and uniforms displayed as a whole. A biographical and historical essay was published on Jake and is cited as Robert N. DeArmond, "Saginaw Jake: Navy Hostage, Indian Policeman, Celebrity" Alaska History 5, no. 1 (Spring 1990). Because the navy failed to pay a dept owed to the Deisheetaan, they adopted the naval uniform as a crest and Haa At.óowu (Clan Property). Overall, SHI Special Collections was pleased to obtain these unique photographs for inclusion in our archive. For more information about additional historic photos held by SHI Special Collections click here to see our digital displays.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
A few weeks ago local Tlingit photographer Brian Wallace donated a batch of historical photographs to SHI Special Collections. Wallace, a professional photographer by trade, has always had a great gift with photography, and the pictures in this donation show his talent. Although Wallace has donated to SHI Special Collections in the past, this donation contained around 200 great photographs concerning the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood from the 1980s. These photographs have since been arranged into our Brian Wallace Photograph Collection (PO032), and for additional information about the collection’s contents you can view our online finding aid by clicking here. Importantly, these photos were donated in the memory of Wallace’s late parents, Amos L. (Jeet Yaaw Dustaa) and Dorothy Wallace (Natstklaa). The below picture is one from the recent donation.
This image was taken by Wallace in 1983 and shows former and then current Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) Camp 2 presidents. The label on the photo reads “Bessie Visaya, Alice Vavilas, Emma Olsen, President, Dorothy Thornton, and Dorothy Wallace.” Camp 2 is the
SHI Special Collections collects materials that document the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people and makes these materials available to the public for educational purposes. If you would like to learn more about donating to SHI Special Collections click here.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
These past few months Special Collections staff have been working on the Curry-Weissbrodt Papers collection, and we’ve found some real treasures in this large collection. The Curry-Weissbrodt Papers were donated to Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) in 1981 by I. E. Weissbrodt and consist of approximately 50 transfer case-boxes of materials. These materials are comprised of records documenting the work of lawyers James E. Curry and I. E. Weissbrodt from the 1930s to the 1970s while their legal firms were employed by the Tlingit and Haida Indians to fight for fishing rights and regulations, timber development, and possessory rights of Alaska Natives. Overall, the collection contains thousands of documents, reports, publications, a few photographs, and thousands of letters between these lawyers, members of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, and various Tlingit and Haida individuals from villages across
Of interest, we recently looked at in more detail a few hundred historic photographs embedded in the collection. Since photographs often require special archival care, we recently separated the photos, placed them in new archival folders and sleeves, and created a Curry-Weissbrodt Photograph Collection. A finding aid for this growing collection’s contents can be viewed by clicking here. The photos shown below are from this collection.
This first photograph is a black and white photograph taken on Nov. 11, 1941 at
This second photograph is one of 107 images taken by William L. Paul, Jr. in 1945 of “cannery housing conditions” in
SHI is an Alaska Native nonprofit organization established in 1980 to administer educational and cultural programs for Sealaska, a regional Native corporation formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The institute’s mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures. If you would like to donate materials to SHI, or conduct research at our
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Throughout Widmark´s life she remained a dedicated educator. She worked for the
SHI is a Native nonprofit organization established in 1980 to administer educational and cultural programs for Sealaska, a regional Native corporation formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. SHI’s mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures. SHI obtains its collections by donation and if you would like to donate, please contact SHI’s
This historic photograph came with the donation of Widmark's papers and captures
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has posted a searchable catalog of its archival collections on the Internet, a major breakthrough that will help researchers easily sort out what types of materials the institute houses.
The institute also has just started to add its book collection to the local library consortium’s searchable database, making it the only private library to do so.
The projects are part of an effort to foster greater scholarship on the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of
“There’s a lot of opportunity for study because some aspects are unstudied. I think there are a lot of dated studies that need to be revised, and it’s only by looking at these fresh sources that people can get the information to rewrite history,” Jones said.
Before the archival catalog went online, people had to physically go to the institute’s
“People can do a keyword search, they can search by topic, they can browse search, they can do a handful of things, they can just look at things by genre, say they wanted to look at what recordings we had, they could look at all the recordings in a list,” said Jones.
The holdings include approximately 25,000 photographs, roughly 1,000 cultural objects, nearly 2,500 media items, thousands of books and more than 1,000 linear feet of manuscript material that document the history, culture, heritage and language of the Tlignit, Haida and Tsimshian.
The institute also is adding a catalog of its book collection to the Capital Cities Library Information Center (CCLIC), so Sealaska Heritage Institute will show up as a facility that has particular books when people search the CCLIC system.
“We have around 3,000 publications. They date from the late 1800s to the present and they all focus on Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian or
The catalogs will produce lists of the institute’s holdings. Patrons still will have to go the
This undertaking is two-year project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Sealaska Heritage Institute, and Sealaska Corporation.
SHI is a Native nonprofit established in 1980 to administer educational and cultural programs for Sealaska, a regional Native corporation formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The institute’s mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures. Language revitalization is a priority of SHI.
CONTACT: Zachary Jones, SHI Archivist, 907-586-9261