Cowlitz Country News - Archives - Tlingit and Haida
  On-line since 2011 - Updated December 1, 2013
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December 2013

Tlingit: Work should start soon on Tlingit tribal house project - Bids will go out this winter to build a tribal house in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, part of an effort to restore Native traditions in places that have become national parks.

October 2013

Tlingit: Todd Gloria will become Acting Mayor of San Diego on Friday - City Council President Todd Gloria is poised to become San Diego’s Acting Mayor now that scandal-ridden Mayor Bob Filner resigned Friday as part of a deal reached this week during three days of mediation. He describes his heritage as "half Native American (Tlingit-Haida, an Alaskan tribe), a quarter Filipino and then a little bit of Dutch and Puerto Rican," Wikipedia says.

Tlingit: Camp Near Wrangell Teaches Tlingit Culture, Language - The town of Wrangell, once called the “sleeping giant,” has seen an awakening of its native culture and history. In early August, a group of people headed to the original Tlingit settlement 25 miles from present-day Wrangell—for a language and culture camp. It was the first time Tlingit was spoken in Old Town in 65 years.

May 2013

Tlingit-Haida: Sequestration to hit regional tribal programs - The Tlingit and Haida Central Council expects some hits from sequestration. President Ed Thomas told delegates about projected cuts during the council’s recent Tribal Assembly in Juneau. “I think pretty much across the board, we’re talking about a 5 percent negative impact. Nobody has come up with anything less than that,” he says. Comment: By itself, sequestration does not make any actual cuts, but is a reduction in the rate of increased spending. So the cuts are political grandstanding intended to provoke citizens to pressure politicians. This is a game both parties play.

March 2013

Tlingit: CEO of Colorado-Based IT Company Opens Branch in Rural Kake - Few are unaware that the United States has suffered the most severe economic downturn since The Great Depression. Too few, however, do realize that unemployment rates among Natives far exceed rates in even the most dispossessed communities of non-Native peoples. From 2007, the year The Great Recession began, to 2010, unemployment rates among Natives increased 7.7 percentage points to 15.2 percent.

Tlingit-Haida: Tribes oppose cruise ship bill - The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska is opposing a bill that would change how Alaska regulates cruise ship wastewater. The council represents about 28,000 people. In a letter that was being distributed to lawmakers Friday, the council said the proposal would lower water quality protections and the proposal wasn't based on the best available science.

Tlingit: Sealaska Board Member, Tlingit Elder Clarence Jackson - Tlingit elder and board member of the Sealaska Corporation since its inception, Clarence Jackson Sr., lost his battle with cancer on January 31. He was 78 years old. He signed the Sealaska articles of incorporation in 1972 and is the only board member to serve continuously since the organization’s founding.

January 2013

Tlingit: Artist from Sitka officially recognized as recipient of $50,000 fellowship - Sitka artist Nicholas Galanin has been named the 2012 recipient of the $50,000 Rasmuson Fellowship from United States Artists. Galanin, a Tlingit and Aleut artist, said he found out about the award a few months ago, but had to keep quiet about it until the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization made the official announcement Monday. "It felt really good, it felt like it was a huge honor," Galanin said Tuesday, on his way home from the awards ceremony held Sunday and Monday in Los Angeles.

November 2012

Tlingit: Medical school minority applicants on the rise in 2012 - Minority enrollment into medical school is increasing, says a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges. David Baines, a physician and member of the Tlingit and Tsimshian tribes, told the Native American Times. “I was very isolated as the first and only American Indian or Alaska Native student at Mayo Medical School.” Baines’s story is not unique but may become less commonplace as minority student enrollment continues to increase.

October 2012

Tlingit: Artist told use of feathers in artwork violates federal law - For hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years, Natives of Southeast Alaska have paid artisans to create tools, clothing and ceremonial regalia adorned with feathers. So contemporary Tlingit carver Archie Cavanaugh was startled last month when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel told him that items he had advertised for sale violated federal laws. Specifically: a carved hat featuring the wings and tail of a raven, and a headdress, or "shakee.át," topped with the feathers of a flicker, a robin-size relative of the woodpecker. Read more: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner - Tlingit artist told use of feathers in artwork violates federal law

Haida: Huge algae bloom off Canada triggered by company's 'fertilization' experiment - A 3,800-square-mile algae bloom in the Pacific Ocean off Canada's British Columbia has been traced to a California businessman who promised a local tribe he could help their salmon runs by fertilizing the ocean with iron. Fertilization might be a way to soak up carbon dioxide, but it's also hotly debated among scientists. The Haida nation reportedly put up more than $1 million for the test under the premise that an algae bloom would provide more food for salmon. The test itself was done some 200 miles west of the Haida Gwaii islands. "The village people voted to support what they were told was a 'salmon enhancement project'," said the tribe's president, who goes by a single name Guujaaw. Guujaaw said the tribe "would not have agreed if they had been told of any potential negative effects or that it was in breach of an international convention."

Tlingit: Young Tlingit artist honors tradition with Trickster brand - The juxtaposition of tradition and innovation is fairly common in contemporary Tlingit art; less so is the blend of seriousness and exuberance found in Rico Worl’s skateboard designs. The designs Worl creates for his boards are graphic, modern, and — backed with colorful paint splatters — even playful; and yet his execution of formline design and other Tlingit elements is carefully considered, the product of in-depth study of traditional rules and cultural protocol.

July 2012

Tlingit: Post Celebration Blues - We survived another Celebration and many of us only have sore thighs and a new Facebook profile pic to show for it. For me the most significant part was the landing of the canoes at Aak’w Bay, with the Aak’w Kwáan clan leaders there to receive them in their at.oowu. The Aak’w Kwáan clan leaders were very regal and real, and the strong young men landing were full of the strength and life that make a tribe truly a tribe. As much as I love the dancing of Celebration, it was the energy and fierceness of the landing that spoke to me through the ages and mist of time.

May 2012

Tlingit: Cedar Logs Received for Chief Shakes Tribal House, Land for Carving Shed - While the Chief Shakes Tribal House in Wrangell will have a new floor and footings, the centerpiece of the structure, the fire pit, has been preserved: carbon dating conducted on the ash dated the pit back to the late 1800’s.

Tlingit-Haida: Penn and Genographic Project scientists illuminate the ancient history of circumarctic peoples - Two studies led by scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and National Geographic's Genographic Project reveal new information about the migration patterns of the first humans to settle the Americas.

Tlingit: Honoring our elders, establishing our traditions - Last week I was blessed with the opportunity to watch the Children’s Celebration take place in Centennial Hall. I sat next to my clan grandson Kingheestí, and near many of my favorite people in the world who are working tirelessly to revitalize our Tlingit language.

April 2012

Tlingit-Haida: Housing announces new CEO - Ricardo Worl is the new president and chief executive officer for the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority. Set to retire at the end of April, current president and CEO, Blake Kazama, wraps up over a decade as head of the authority, starting in 1998.

Tlingit and Haida: Parnell seeks Native forum's help on education - Gov. Sean Parnell defended his commitment to education to the Native Issues Forum on Wednesday, and challenged the Alaska Senate to pass the budget he submitted. Speaking to the Tlingit-Haida Central Council Indian Tribes of Alaska-sponsored forum, Parnell defended his education budget, saying his proposals have been mischaracterized.

Tlingit and Haida: Central Council announces new CFO - Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced its appointment of Theresa Belton as the Tribe’s acting chief financial officer on Thursday.

Tlingit: Woosh kaanáxh gaxhtuda.aat: Conference convenes in Sitka - This week marks the beginning of Wooshteen Kanaxhtulaneegí Haa At Wuskóowu (Sharing Our Knowledge): A Conference of Tlingit Tribes and Clans, which runs from March 29-April 1 in Sitka. The conference began in 1993 as a way to gather culture-bearers, Tlingit speakers, learners, scholars and interested parties to reaffirm the customs and traditions of the Alaska Tlingit and Kaiganii Haida clans.

Tlingit-Haida: Hoonah weavers study ancestors' work at Smithsonian Institution - Five master weavers from Hoonah traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to study hundreds of Tlingit and Haida woven artifacts in the Smithsonian Institution’s collections. Huna Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the preservation of Huna Tlingit culture, coordinated the trip in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s Recovering Voices program to augment a series of weaving workshops held in Hoonah last year.

March 2012

Tlingit-Haida: Could B.C. mine hurt eulachon runs? - Add tribal governments to the list of those concerned about large-scale mining near the Canadian border. They said an open-pit copper and gold mine planned for northeast of Ketchikan could threaten hooligan, also known as eulachon or candlefish.

Tlingit: Alaska Native Leader Niles Cesar Passes Away - A leader in moving tribes to greater self-determination died over the weekend. Niles Cesar was a member of the Raven moiety and L’ukwaax.ádi clan. Anchorage services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. The family plans to announce Juneau services soon. Niles Cesar passed away last Saturday at age 70 after a long struggle with cancer.

Tlingit: Juneau writer brings old Tlingit tales to life - In the Tlingit story of Strong Man, the hero, Dukt’ootl’, grows up building his strength until one day he is ready to become a leader of his people. The challenges that face teens today are a little different, but writer Ishmael Hope was able to relate the ancient Tlingit story to a modern-day story describing the evolution of a bullied teen into a confident young man, who is able to achieve his goals through hard work.

Tlingit: Decolonize the Tlingit! - We can look at why the prison population in Lemon Creek Correctional Facility is 85% native when natives make up only 14.8% of the total population in Alaska. We can also look at how our traditional hunting and fishing rights have been altered to make us look like criminals in today’s law systems. The judicial, congressional, educational, and democratic systems were put in place to make minorities fail, and fall subject to the will of the majority, the colonizer.

Tlingit: Juneau students drum up interest in history - One class of Gastineau Elementary School students is in the process of making deer hide drums as part of a multi-disciplined history lesson. The drum making is just a portion of the Tlingit learning that goes on at Gastineau. Before working on the drums, the students led a lesson on the calendar. They spoke in Tlingit calling out the months, days, weather and other related items.

Tlingit: Master Artist Mabel Pike Passes Away - Tlingit Master Artist and Elder Mabel Pike has passed away. Pike was born in Douglas and spent her early years in Juneau. She and her husband Joe lived in Tanana and Bethel in the 1960s before moving to Anchorage, where she soon became active in Native community activities. Her son Jan See says she’s perhaps best known for her beadwork and as a teacher.

Tlingit and Haida: State Gives Money To Central Council Tribe’s Child Support Unit - The State of Alaska agreed to release more than $50,000 to Central Council Tlingit and Haida Tribe’s Child Support Unit. The court agreement allows the Council to disperse the money to some families who have been waiting for years to see it.

Tlingit and Haida: CCTHITA, state reach agreement on child support - The Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced Tuesday they entered an agreement with the state of Alaska to release funds for child support orders pending the outcome of a final court order.

February 2012

Tlingit-Haida-Tsimshian: U.S. legislation threatens oldest, tallest trees in Tongass rainforest - Up to 17 percent of the tallest old-growth trees in the Tongass temperate rainforest could be cut under new U.S. legislation. The report argues that the legislation under consideration would resurrect the banned practice of "high-grading," which allows loggers to select the largest, most-ancient trees across the forest for cutting despite their ecological importance. The legislation is a part of a controversial 65,000 acre logging concession in Tongass to Sealaska Corporation, which is owned by 20,000 members of Native communities, from the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes.

Tlingit: Wrangell women take a whack at tribal house restoration - A unusual crew of woodworking women has been flailing with adzes over the past several months as part of the Shakes Island renovation project in Wrangell. The seven-person team charged with the task of shaping 7,000 feet of wood by hand includes four female adzers. The Wrangell Cooperative Association or WCA, which is managing the project, thinks this is the first time that females have been a significant part of an adzing team.

Tsimshiam-Haida-Tlingit: Lee Wilkerson’s Indian Warrior Journey Continues to Gain Strength - In October, Indian Country Today Media Network reported on the planned Indian Warrior Journey, a canoe trip conceived by Air Force pilot Captain Lee Wilkerson for this summer, which he hopes will involve members from every Native American tribe in the U.S. Since that article was published, he says he has received support from more than 50 tribes. Wilkerson and his brother, Nathaniel Wilkerson – who are Tsimshiam, Haida, and Tlingit – are planning an 850-mile canoe trip from Juneau, Alaska to the Quinault Nation, near Olympia, Washington, in traditional Haida canoes they are making. He is inviting two young men from every Native American nation in the country to join him. He says he will need to raise $360,000 for the project.

Tlingít: SEARHC mourns death of Dan Moreno Jr. - It is with great sorrow that we learned about the death early yesterday morning of Dan Moreno Jr., who represented Sitka Tribe of Alaska on the SEARHC Board of Directors from 1993-94. Dan's Tlingít name was Kaa Taan, and he was a member of the Kaagwaantaan (Eagle/Wolf) moiety. Dan was of the Ch'aak' Kudi Hít (Eagle Nest House) and was a grandchild of the L'uknax.adi (Coho Clan).

Tlingit: Library and PIA introduce Tlingit culture program on Elizabeth Peratrovich Day - In 1945, the Alaska state legislature signed the Anti-Discrimination Act into law, and began an era of improved racial relations in the state. Civil rights leader Elizabeth Peratrovich was instrumental in this bill’s passage and her work is celebrated across the state on February 16, Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

Tlingit-Haida: House speaker faces school funding questions at Native Issues Forum - House Speaker Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, right, and Rep. Reggie Joule, D-Kotzebue, answer questions during the Native Issue Forum at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall on Wednesday. The Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska will hold a series of Wednesday forums on Native issues during the legislative session.

Tlingit-Haida: Central Council to host Native Issues Forum - The Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska will hold a series of Wednesday forums on Native issues during the legislative session. The events are set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 8 and 22, March 7 and 21, and April 4.

Tlingit: 2 new Anchorage Museum exhibits explore different Alaska themes - At first glance, there's not much in common between two exhibits opening Friday at the Anchorage Museum. Tlingit artist Preston Singletary's "Echoes, Fire and Shadows" is a collection of elegantly crafted, blown-glass pieces that interpret Alaska Native myths in a modern medium and blends them with other indigenous cultures from around the world.

January 2012

Tlingit: Glass artist has Alaska roots - Born in San Francisco in 1963, Preston Singletary has lived in Seattle almost ever since. But Alaska has a claim on him. His maternal grandmother was full-blood Tlingit from a Sitka area family. Traditional Northwest Indian themes and forms are fused into the glass works that have made him an internationally known artist.

Tlingit: Winter lecture series at Sheldon Jackson Museum starts Jan. 21 - The Friends of the Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka have announced the start of the museum’s winter lecture series, featuring noted researchers and artists discussing topics related to the museum’s collections. A lecture by Tlingit weaver Teri Rofkar will close the lecture series on March 31. Her talk, “Partnerships in Understanding: Materials Characterization and Condition Assessment of Tlingit Spruce Root Baskets at the National Museum of the American Indian,” discusses her ongoing collaboration with the conservation staff at the Smithsonian Institution to better care for and understand Tlingit spruce root basketry.

Tlingit: City of Kake celebrates centennial - The song began with drumbeats, followed by a powerful call from the dance group leader. As the steady tempo of the drumbeats increased in volume, a chorus of women's voices began to sing, joined by the baritone of the men's voices. The gym floor soon filled with brightly colored regalia, emblazoned with clan crests. Eagles, ravens, sharks, killer whales, frogs and many others filled the room as the Keex' Kwaan dancers performed their grand entrance for the guests assembled in the Kake Community Hall this weekend. One hundred years ago, January 8, 1912, marked the day when the community of Kake became the first Alaska Native village to be recognized as a municipal government under the federal government. The decision represented a turning point for the community as traditional Native ways of governing were left behind in order to adopt Western laws. Today, Kake continues to be a predominantly Tlingit community nestled along the northwest shore of Kupreanof Island along Keku Strait. Around 500 people live in Kake.

Haida: Nation leader outraged over “libelous” Enbridge documents - The president of the Haida Nation Council, Guujaaw, was shocked when he saw his organization’s name on Enbridge documents submitted to the Joint Review Panel for hearings on the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline. "Enbridge has provided deliberately misleading and false information claiming that [it] has built relationships with the Haida Fisheries Program, Haida Development Corporation and Haida Child and Family Services,” Guujaaw said in an email to the Joint Review Panel dated Dec. 20. "We would like to have all these names stricken from Enbridge's files [and] documents as it is libelous bringing these organizations into disrepute, not only with their own constituents, but also the many First Nations, organizations and people committed to the health of this planet."

November 2011

Haida: Artist honoured for life's work

Tlingit and Haida: Judge grants tribal courts power in child-support cases


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