Friday, September 23, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a noon lecture on Southeast Alaska totem poles that were made or restored during the Great Depression and show a 1949 newsreel about the project that was recently rediscovered.
The lecture will be given by Emily Moore, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. SHI is sponsoring her research through its Visiting Scholars Program.
The brown bag lunch lecture is scheduled from noon-1 pm, Monday, Sept. 19 in the 4th floor boardroom at Sealaska Plaza. It is free of charge and open to the public. Space is limited.
Moore, who is originally from Ketchikan, is writing her dissertation on the totem parks created in Saxman, Ketchikan, Wrangell, Kasaan, Klawock, and Hydaburg and restored in Sitka. The project was launched when the federal government, acting through the U.S. Forest Service and through an emergency relief program called the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), hired Tlingit and Haida men to restore or replicate nineteenth-century totem poles from Native villages.
“The CCC totem parks represent a pivotal moment in totem pole history in Southeast Alaska, transferring poles from the clan houses and gravesites of Tlingit and Haida villages to more centralized totem ‘parks’ geared specifically for tourists,” Moore said.
“At the same time, however, the parks helped to continue carving traditions by employing carvers trained in nineteenth-century apprenticeship traditions to teach a younger generation of carvers the techniques and stories behind the poles. The parks also represented the first major act of government patronage for Northwest Coast Native art in the U.S., and they continue to be important sites for Tlingit and Haida communities today. Despite the importance of these totem parks, however, there is no in-depth study of the CCC project or of the individuals who worked to realize its goals.”
The 11-minute film is titled Timber and Totem Poles and was produced by the U.S. Forest Service.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a regional nonprofit representing the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures.
CONTACT: Emily Moore, Lecturer/Visiting Scholar, 510-590-6676; Zachary Jones, SHI Archivist, 586-9261
Photograph Credit: Image of CCC workers at Wrangell, 1939, photo by Linn Forrest, from SHI Linn Forrest Photograph Collection.
Friday, September 9, 2011
In Amy's youth she moved to Sitka to attend the Sheldon Jackson College, and then moved to Petersburg, Alaska. During the 1920s in Petersburg, Amy married Norwegian-born Casper Hallingstad Sr. (1901-1980) and they later raised six children together.
During the early 1930s, as Amy's children began to attend school in Petersburg, Amy became angry that the Native children in Petersburg were forced to attend a segregated school. Since Alaska Natives had to pay taxes that went toward the public school system, Amy was able to force the closure of the Native school in Petersburg and soon Alaska Native children were able to attend the public school in Petersburg. Her oldest son, Casper Hallingstad, Jr. was the first Alaska Native student in the Petersburg public school. During this time Amy became very active in the Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS), serving in various leadership roles within the Petersburg ANS Camp 16, and later serving as Grand President from 1947-49 and 1953-56. She was a supporter of the land claims movement as early as 1937. Amy was also instrumental in forming the Petersburg Indian Association in 1948.
During this time Amy also made it a practice to forcibly remove signs from businesses in Southeast Alaska that contained discriminatory language, such as "No Natives Allowed." Amy was also an organizer of boycotts against businesses that discriminated against Alaska Natives, or preferred to hire non-Natives. Newspaper articles speak of her efforts of enforcing a boycott of the Petersburg movie theater, which had segregated seating. The boycott continued until the segregated seating practice was eliminated.
As Grand President of ANS she also made strong efforts to pressure businesses, such as canneries that sought to employ non-Natives, to change their policies and hire locally. She influenced reforms that were enacted at canneries in Hood Bay, Excursion Inlet, Pillar Bay, and Chatham. She fought to improve medical care to Alaska Natives. She also regularly corresponded and met with state politicians about the important political issues of the day. With her contemporary, the celebrated Elizabeth Peratrovich, they both worked towards ensuring Human Rights were guaranteed to Alaska Natives. Amy was an advocate for Native rights until her death at age 72 in 1973.