Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Smithsonian: Listening to Our Ancestors

While some readers may already know about the Smithsonian Museum project of last year; Listening to Our Ancestors, I wanted to revisit it and call attention to their current online resources from the project and the Sealaska Heritage Institute’s involvement. The Smithsonian’s online Listening to Our Ancestors exhibit offers some very interesting insight into various North Pacific Coast cultural items and art pieces. The excerpt below, from the Smithsonian’s website, provides a brief explanation about their online display.

“In this exhibition, representatives from 11 Native communities along the North Pacific Coast share their perspectives on more than 400 ceremonial and everyday objects that connect them to their lands, customs, and ancestors. Their words reveal the deeper meaning that lives within the objects, as well as the enduring lifeways of which they are a part.”

SHI and others from Southeast Alaska went to Washington, DC to help with the selection of these objects, which are housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of the American Indian. Those who took part of this project include the Council of Traditional Scholars, Clarence Jackson, Peter Jack, and George Ramos with Anna Katzeek as translator, along with Donald Gregory and Delores Churchill. Dr. Rosita Worl, President of SHI, has served as adviser to the Listening to Our Ancestors exhibit and just finished reviewing and commenting on exhibit labels.

The Smithsonian has also been involved with SHI on a number of additional projects, including the current canoe carving project which is underway at the Sealaska Corporation building. Viewers can watch Doug Chilton, head carver, and his team work on the canoe live via this link or view pictures of the project here. Additional information about this project can be found via SHI’s press release of last fall.

No comments: