Friday, June 18, 2010

SHI 2009 Annual Report Now Available Online

View a pdf version of its 2009 annual report or, to request a hardcopy, contact Kathy Dye, (Video)

Sealaska Corporation Buys Land For Cultural Center

Juneau, AK - Sealaska Corporation has purchased a downtown lot and plans to donate the site to the nonprofit Sealaska Heritage Institute for a planned Southeast Alaska Native Cultural and Visitors Center.

The lot, known locally as “the pit”, was the former site of the Skinner Building, which was destroyed by fire in 2004. The property, located across the street from Sealaska’s headquarters, was purchased from a private owner and will be turned over to the institute for a cultural center.

The center is a priority of Sealaska’s board of directors, said Chief Executive Officer Chris McNeil, noting that the hugely popular Celebration event showcases the cultures for a few days every other year, and the center would allow the cultures to be showcased year-round.

“We believe that we have an obligation to show our commitment to support this project and to enable SHI to secure additional funding for the project,” McNeil said. “This is a worthwhile project and a project of that nature merits that we make a significant contribution towards its fulfillment, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Sealaska Heritage Institute is very grateful to Sealaska’s board of directors for making the donation, said Marlene Johnson, a trustee of the institute.

“This donation is a huge step towards making the much needed cultural center a reality,” Johnson said.

As part of the purchase agreement, the current owner agreed to resolve issues related to damaged sidewalks on the perimeter of the lot before Sealaska officially takes ownership, likely by mid July.

“After the current owner fulfills his obligations, Sealaska Corporation plans to landscape the lot, so it’s attractive in the interim before ground is broken for the center;” said Executive Vice President Rick Harris.

The center will be a first-rate institution for the study of Native cultures, preservation of historical papers and ethnographic collections, and the cultivation of Native culture, arts and languages. The project will create more than 80 jobs during the two-year construction phase and generate millions of dollars in spending for payroll, benefits, and goods and services.

In 2010, the State of Alaska appropriated $2 million to Sealaska Heritage Institute for the center. Those funds will be used for the planning phase of the facility. The institute has launched a fundraising effort to build the facility, which will cost an estimated $16 million.

Sealaska Corporation founded Sealaska Heritage Institute in 1980 to administer its educational and cultural programs. Sealaska has continued to be the institute’s largest sponsor. The institute is governed by an all-Native Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

Historical audio recordings donated to Sealaska Heritage Institute

A public radio station has donated to Sealaska Heritage Institute a major collection of audio recordings that include a treasure trove of interviews with notable Elders, clan leaders and other Native people.

The collection includes approximately 350 recordings made for the award-winning program Southeast Native Radio, which was broadcast by KTOO-FM in Juneau from 1985 to 2001.

The station made the donation in June at a ceremony attended by most of the people who worked on the program. KTOO General Manager Bill Legere said his staff is honored to have the institute accept the collection.

“We know these recordings are very important, and for many years we’ve been concerned about their safekeeping and their availability for historical research,” Legere said. “I know that Sealaska Heritage Institute will provide a safe and secure home and will treat the recordings with great care and respect. SHI has the knowledge and expertise to preserve these voices for the benefit of future generations.”

The recordings document Native history and action taken by Native Elders, leaders and other people, said SHI Archivist Zachary Jones, who called it one of the institute’s most important collections.

“The quality of these recordings really is quite fantastic--the content and even the questions that were asked are very powerful--they really asked hard-hitting questions on the vital issues of the day,” Jones said.

Southeast Native Radio was conceived as a way to educate Alaskans about Natives in Alaska and to provide a community forum. It covered a range of topics, including politics, religion, subsistence, land claims, political movements, women’s issues, cultural survival and language documentation.

The show was produced by a team of volunteers, including Arlene Dangeli, Joaqlin Estus, Cy Peck, Jr., Kathy Ruddy, Kim Metcalfe, Andy Hope III, Jayne Dangeli, Laurie Cropley Nix, and Rhonda Mann, while KTOO provided the facilities and staff time to help with production and training.

The idea for the program germinated after a visit to Juneau’s prison, said Arlene Dangeli, a founder, producer and host of the show.

“There were over 60 percent Native inmates in that population,” Dangeli said. “We talked with the inmates about having a voice for our culture, and having something to learn. We met with KTOO about our concerns. I then kept going back to KTOO, until finally Southeast Native Radio was founded.”

The recordings include a 13-part series from 1986 on the history of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, now 99 years old and the oldest civil rights organization in the United States. The series was produced by Vern Metcalfe, who interviewed Judson Brown, Richard Stitt, Cyril George, Ethel Lund, Dr. Robert Cogo, Vesta Johnson, Esther Littlefield, and John Hope among others.

The collection also includes Tlingit language segments—in one set of recordings from the annual "Live Day" produced by KTOO-FM, Nora Dauenhauer, Walter Soboleff, Cecilia Kunz, Selina Everson, Irene Lampe, Helen Sarabia, Al McKinley and Richard McKinley among others conversed in Tlingit for half hour segments. These "Conversations in Tlingit", recorded over a period of seven years from 1995 to 2002, include three and a half hours of conversation entirely in the Tlingit language, covering a wide range of subjects. These recordings have been recently transcribed and translated into English through the work of linguist Keri Edwards and others.

The late Richard Dalton of Hoonah made a recording on the Seagull Clan; the late master weaver Selina Peratrovich made a recording on Haida basketry; and Fred Paul did a series on the history of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act.

Jones said the collection will be well used.

“I can see a lot of interest from researchers, as well as people who are concerned with Native issues because we have a lot of very important Native leaders and individuals speaking on issues that have a lot of relevance today,” Jones said.

Most of the original recordings are on large reel-to-reel tapes, which are being migrated to digital format. The list of the recordings should be available to the public through Sealaska Heritage Institute by mid July. Kathy Ruddy, a producer of Southeast Native Radio from 1985-2001, said the producers were inspired to preserve the collection by Frances Field and the Archive Rescue Corps.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private, nonprofit founded in 1980 to administer cultural and educational programs for Sealaska Corporation. The institute is governed by an all-Native Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

CONTACT: Zachary Jones, SHI archivist, 907-586-9261; Bill Legere, KTOO general manager, 463-6406; Arlene (Dangeli) Roberts, founder, producer, host,

(Photo caption: Transfer ceremony in Juneau, June 2010. Front row, from left: Ishmael Hope, (representing his late father Andy), Joaqlin Estus, and SHI Archivist Zach Jones. Back row, from left: Kathy Ruddy, Cy Peck Jr., Kim Metcalfe, Michael Dangeli (representing his mother Arlene Dangeli, who was unable to attend), Jayne Dangeli, SHI Trustee Marlene Johnson, KTOO General Manager Bill Legere, and Alice Taff.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

San Jose SLIS to Award Scholarships to American Indians and Alaska Natives

The San Jose School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) is partnering with the American Indian Library Association (AILA) to launch Circle of Learning — an initiative designed to recruit and support American Indians and Alaska Natives who are interested in earning a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree.

The scholarship program is designed for Native students who want to earn a fully online ALA-accredited MLIS degree. Scholarship recipients will receive financial assistance and other support, including mentoring, career advisement, field experiences, involvement in professional conferences and workshops, and interaction with Native leaders in the profession.

Because all courses are delivered fully online, students will be able to live anywhere while earning their MLIS degree. Circle of Learning’s unique blended approach of online curriculum delivery and face-to-face social and professional interactions will help ensure that scholarship recipients receive personalized support and develop a professional network that will benefit them in the years ahead.

The Circle of Learning scholarship program is made possible because of a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. IMLS announced the award on June 15, 2010. View their announcement here:

The Circle of Learning advisory committee is finalizing application criteria. Details regarding eligibility for scholarships and application materials will be available on the project website by August 3, 2010. Students will need to be admitted to the School’s MLIS program in order to receive scholarship funding, and the individuals selected to receive scholarships will be eligible to start receiving tuition reimbursement for courses taken during the Spring 2011 semester.

For more information regarding the Circle of Learning project, including application information and deadlines, please visit the project’s website at

For more information about SLIS and how to apply to the School’s fully online MLIS program, visit

To learn more about the American Indian Library Association and its initiatives to improve library and information services for American Indians, visit

For information regarding this announcement, please contact Lisa Valdez at

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Seven artists have taken top awards at the fifth Sealaska Juried Art Competition in Juneau for best contemporary and traditional Native art.

The winners, chosen by juror David Boxley, an internationally recognized Northwest Coast Native artist, are:

Traditional Art

Best of Show- “Tlingit Helmet” by Wayne Price
1st Place- “Copper Child” by Lily Hudson
2nd Place- Untitled Ravenstail Weave by Shgen George
3rd Place- “Spruce Root Hat” by Merle Anderson
Contemporary Art

Best of Show- “Cedar Bark Hat Box” by Merle Anderson
1st Place- “Crisco Berry Surprise” by Corey Stein
2nd Place- “Cycle of Life” by Chloe French
3rd Place- “Raven and the Beauty of Eagle Spirit” by Lance Twitchell

Twenty other artists also were chosen to exhibit their work in the show. Those artists included:

Anna Ehlers
Calvin Morberg (Honorable Mention)
Catherine "Kitty" Young
Clara Haley
Deborah Head (Honorable Mention)
Dolly Garza (Two Honorable Mentions)
Harmony Hoss
Kathy Polk (Two Honorable Mentions)
Lani Hotch
Malcolm Miller (Two Honorable Mentions)
Michael Beasley (Honorable Mention)
Mike Dangeli (Honorable Mention)
Myles Edgars (Honorable Mention)
Opal Olsen
Pauline Jim (Honorable Mention)
Preston Singletary (Honorable Mention)
Ralph Wolfe
Ray Peck
Richard Beasley (Honorable Mention)
Vivian Benson (Honorable Mention)
Twelve-year old Patrice DeAsis also was singled out for an Encouragement of Recognition mention for her entry, a Chilkat weaving.

Images of these art items can be viewed by clicking here.

Best of Show, traditional winner Wayne Price said the wood for his Tlingit War Helmet came from an alder tree that knocked out the power in Juneau for half a day.

“That wood has had 25-thousand volts go through it, and it didn’t crack when I carved it. So it really had a really good start,” Price said.

Corey Stein took first place for contemporary art for her beadwork, and said the award came at the right time.

“Sometimes you need that self esteem pat on the back really bad and the timing for me was perfect. I really needed this,” Stein said.

Lily Hudson took first place for traditional art for her Chilkat weaving, which her small daughter will wear in the Toddler Regalia Review.

“The competition was really intense. I shouldn’t be surprised at the caliber of work that's in the show, but man I’m keeping company with amazing artists,” Hudson said.

Their work will be on exhibit at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center through June 27. Some of the pieces are available for purchase.

SHI founded the competition in 2002 to promote the development of Southeast Alaska Native arts. The goals of the Juried Art Show are:

-To encourage and enhance the creation and production of Southeast Alaska Native objects of artistic value which have fallen into disuse and are becoming rare.

-To stimulate and enhance the quality of artistic work among our Native artisans.

-To encourage the development of new forms of art of purely Southeast Alaska Native form and design.

To ensure an objective judging process, the names of the artists were not included with the photos of objects viewed during selection.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a Native nonprofit founded by Sealaska Corp. in 1980 to administer the corporation’s cultural programs. The mission of the Institute is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures.

CONTACT: Rosita Worl, SHI president, 463-4844