Wooshteen Kanaxtulaneegí Haa At Wuskóowu
Sharing Our Knowledge:
A Conference about Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian Tribes & Clans
2024 CONFERENCE: Please mark your calendars for the next conference to be held in Sitka on September 11-15, 2024, at the former Sheldon Jackson School campus (Sitka Fine Arts Camp). If interested in presenting at the conference please find, complete, and send the “2024 Presentation Proposal” form (top left of computer screen; scroll to bottom of a smartphone screen).
2022 CONFERENCE THEME: A Time for Peace
Lingít (Tlingit): G̱uwakaan Gaawú (Peace [deer] time)
X̱aad Kíl (Haida): Asgáay Núut uu Galaadáang (In this time of peace)
Smʼalgyax (Tsimshian): Ha’lig̱a̱wa̱gani (A time of [making] peace)
The just concluded conference in Wrangell was a wonderful success. Several people told us it was the best conference of any kind that they had ever attended. The cultural activities at Chief Shakes House; the guided tour of Petroglyph Beach; the focus on the residential boarding school issue, concluding with a deeply felt healing ceremony at Shoemaker Bay (across the highway from the overgrown remains of the Wrangell Institute boarding school); and the visit to Anan Creek, once the center of indigenous harvesting activities all combined with the many academic presentations live-streamed during the conference — video that will remain accessible to all — made for a rich experience. We offer our sincere thanks to the community of Wrangell, and to…
Wrangell Cooperative Association, United States Forest Service, City of Wrangell (Nolan Center and Parks & Recreation), Sweet Tides Bakery, Alaska Waters, Inc., Etolin Bus Co., Breakaway Adventures, Wrangell Sentinel, KSTK-FM, all lodging accommodations and private sources of housing, and to all the volunteers who helped make the conference possible, THANK YOU!
About the SOK Conference
This unique biennial symposium is open to anyone with an interest in the indigenous peoples of Southeast Alaska and their Canadian relatives. Since the first Sharing Our Knowledge conference (then known as the “Clan Conference”) at Haines/Klukwan in 1993, this three- to four- to five-day symposium has brought together Alaska Native and First Nations tradition bearers, elders, and fluent speakers of indigenous languages with artists, academics, researchers, students and other learners.
Subjects presented include language retention, linguistics, archaeology, art and music, Alaska Native history, museum studies, cultural anthropology, indigenous law and clan protocols, fisheries, traditional ecological knowledge, and others.
Each conference day begins with a plenary session followed by concurrent workshops, and on occasion, field trips. Evenings are devoted to cultural activities that include a Warming of the Hands (welcoming by host Clans) on the evening immediately prior to the conference, with other evenings available for Raven and Eagle/Wolf ceremonies, poetry readings, and other creative presentations. Weavers of Chilkat and Raven’s Tail blankets and other artisans gather to work on and present their creations throughout the conference. Alaska Native art sales are also presented.
For more about the conferences, see the article by Joaqlin Estus about the SOK conferences and the 2019 “Sculpin Hat Revival” in the Alaska Humanities Forum magazine, pages 10-16, Winter 2020:
Theme: “Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Change”
Shukalx̱úx̱sʼ [Tlingit: Calling the end back to the beginning]
Goo Wila Amaniisga Na Lip Ha’lidzog̱m [Tsimshian: How we take care of our world]
Dámaan hlan-gwáay tlagáay g̱udgwáa tl’áas x̱aat’áay tl’ kíits’ad hánggang [Haida: Generation after generation, we must take care of the earth]
Viewable through the video links, over 40 video-recorded presentations were made during the four-day conference at the end of September 2019. Held at three venues – the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, the Alaska State Libraries, Archives and Museums’ lecture room, and the production studio of KTOO-TV – the conference brought together over 550 people including presenters, attendees, and participants in affiliated cultural events.
Presentations of weaving and other fabric arts, 3-D scanning of regalia, and demonstrations of Tlingit spear-throwers were held throughout the conference, which concluded on Sunday, September 29, with the “World of Aak’w Kwáan” orientation at the University of Alaska Southeast campus, followed by a boat tour of Auke Bay.
We encourage viewing the September 2019 interview with Kíngeístí David Katzeek, who passed away in October 2020. See 2019 videos, #41 (open captions).
See also an excellent video produced by the Smithsonian Institution and hosted on its website: v=y7YzLlbVSN4. This 11-minute video documents the many years of collaboration between Tlingit culture bearers and Smithsonian technicians involving the 3-D scanning then replication of the original and quite fragile Sculpin Hat (ca ~1830s), and the ceremony held the day prior to the 2019 conference during which the replicated hat was gifted to the Kiks.ádi Clan by Smithsonian officials.
Thanks to financial support from Goldbelt Heritage Foundation, every presentation – over 60 hours of the 2019 conference – was recorded on video by KTOO-TV. Financial support from the National Science Foundation contributed to the video production, and also allowed us to recompense elders for travel and other expenses.
Held October 13-17, 2017, at the Sitka Fine Arts Campus (formerly Sheldon Jackson School).
Sitka conference theme: Haa Shagóon, Yei Sh Natoosneix (Our History, We are Healing Ourselves).
Conference Outline: Evening of October 13, Welcome event, “Warming Our Hands,” 6 pm, Odess Hall; October 14-16, all day talks and evening sessions; and October 17, Wrap up brunch.
Summary: Special events included a Kiks.adí welcoming ceremony on Saturday evening, October 14; a Monday afternoon Kiks.adí ceremony at the base of Noo Tlein (aka, “Castle Hill”); and throughout the conference presentations by representatives of the Smithsonian Institution demonstrating 3-D scanning and how such scans are translated into plastic and wood, and an outdoor demonstration of the use of the atlatl, the spear-throwing device.
Other special events at the October conference included an on-going weaving workshop complimented by a retrospective (by Aldona Joniatis) on the work of Clarissa Rizal and Teri Rofkar, both of whom passed away in 2016 and who were the subjects of a beautiful documentary, “Lineage: Tlingit Art Across Generations,” produced by Scott Burton and Ishmael Hope, that was screened at the conference on Monday afternoon, October 16. The conference concluded on the morning of Tuesday, October 17, with a “wrap-up” brunch.
Videos of the conference can be viewed at this link: Click Here
Alaska Sesquicentennial: The October 13-17 conference in Sitka coincided with the October 18 Alaska Day observances of the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Cession whereby the United States acquired Russian interests in Alaska. Our conference added new perspectives, those of Alaska Natives whose decades-long challenges to the so-called “Purchase of Alaska” were finally addressed in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. Immediately following and in concert with the conference, a presentation on Tuesday afternoon at Mt. Edgecumbe High School, titled “Treaty of Cession: Causes and Consequences,” featured a panel of four Russian scholars and four Tlingit activists, a discussion moderated by Professor Stephen Haycox and produced by Peter Metcalfe. The panel discussion may be viewed at this link: Click Here
Sharing Our Knowledge has received generous support from…
National Science Foundation – Documenting Endangered Languages grants #1233310, #1500824, #1747878, and #1907979. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Other support has been provided by:
Goldbelt Heritage Foundation • Sealaska Heritage Institute • The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska • The University of Alaska Southeast • Individual donors • Volunteer workers • Outer Coast • Sealaska, Inc. • Haa Too Yei Yatee • Alaska Humanities Forum The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition • Spruce Root Wrangell Cooperative Association • US Forest Service •
The SOK Planning Committee
The “Sharing Our Knowledge” conference concept was pioneered by the late Andy Hope III. The first conference was held in May 1993 in Haines/Klukwan, followed in the next few years by conferences in Ketchikan/Saxman and Sitka. Ten years lapsed until the most recent conferences, held in 2007 (Sitka), 2009 (Juneau), 2012 (Sitka), 2013 and 2015 (Juneau), 2017 (Sitka), and 2019 (Juneau), each of which attracted over 400 participants and nearly 100 presenters.
For more information see links on the panel at left.
Wooshteen Kanaxtulaneegí Haa At Wuskóowu
Sharing Our Knowledge is supported by
National Science Foundation – Documenting Endangered Languages grants #1233310, #1500824, #174878, and #1907979. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
The SOK Planning Committee
Executive Director Satóok’ Linda Belarde, Juneau
Se’iga Liimii Da Ts’m Ksyen Marcella Asicksik, Anchorage
Yeidikook’áa Dionne Brady-Howard, Sitka
Yeiltʼoochʼ Tláa Collyne Bunn, Teslin/Whitehorse
Cayi Tláa Cindy DeWitt, Wrangell
Yakdushí Lisa Milne-DeWitt, Ketchikan
U.tw Joaqlin Estus, Anchorage
Gunaak’w Sergei Kan, Lebanon, New Hampshire
Wooshkeekaa Brooke Leslie, Wrangell
Khaasdahéen Éesh Peter Metcalfe, Juneau
Xwaanlein Virginia Oliver, Wrangell
Shaagunasstaa Bob Sam, Sitka
Tʼeishtul.aan Barbara Searls, Juneau
Skeiwdusá Matthew Spellberg, Sitka
Ljáakk’ Alice Taff, Juneau
The Sharing Our Knowledge Conference provides venues, support, and encouragement for the presentation of topics relevant to the people indigenous to Southeast Alaska and their First Nations relatives, and for the expression of their cultures through performances, exhibitions, and ceremonies. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sharing Our Knowledge planning committee.
The videos, documents, and photographs on this website are freely available for educational or other informational uses for nonprofit purposes. For other use, permission is required. We request that all due respect be accorded the content available on this website.
Copyright of all content on this website is held by Tlingit Readers, Inc.