Wooshteen Kanaxtulaneegí Haa At Wuskóowu
Sharing Our Knowledge:
A Conference of Tlingit Tribes & Clans
Please Note: The next Sharing Our Knowledge conference (aka “clan conference”) is planned for Juneau, Alaska, in September of 2019. Please stand by for more information as we firm up plans.
The most recent conference was 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 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
Subjects presented include linguistics, archaeology, art and music, Alaska Native history, museum studies, cultural anthropology, indigenous law and clan protocols, fisheries, traditional ecological knowledge, and others.
The conference format includes morning plenary sessions followed by concurrent workshops in the afternoons. 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.
Sharing Our Knowledge has received generous support from
National Science Foundation – Documenting Endangered Languages grants #1233310, #1500824, and #1747878. 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:
The University of Alaska Southeast
Goldbelt Heritage Foundation
Northern Light Church Native Ministry fund
The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
Shee Atiká Inc.
Sitka Tribe of Alaska
The Organizing Committee
Jixeik (Gerry Hope, Executive Director); Kasoot (Dionne Cadiente-Laiti), Eech T’ei (Steve Henrikson), Guneiwtí (Marsha Hotch), Gooch Shaayí (Harold Jacobs), Gunaak’w (Sergei Kan), Kingeistí (David Katzeek), Xwaachgé Éesh (Harold Martin), K’ashdahein Éesh (Peter Metcalfe), Kaayistaan (Marie Olson), Sumiq (David Russell-Jensen), Shaagunasstaa (Bob Sam), L Jáakk (Alice Taff)