Wooshteen Kanaxtulaneegí Haa At Wuskóowu
2021: Sharing Our Knowledge:
A Conference of Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian Tribes & Clans
Planning is now underway for the 2021 Sharing Our Knowledge Conference. Site locations under consideration include Wrangell, Sitka, Ketchikan, Haines/Klukwan, and Juneau. Planners are focused on late September/early October of 2021. We encourage comments and recommendations — the pros and cons — for each location: please forward to SOK Executive Director Linda Belarde: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now available on video is the four-day conference that concluded on Sunday, September 29, 2019. Held at three venues – the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, the Alaska State Museum lecture room, and the production studio of KTOO-TV – the conference was, in a word, fabulous! 330 people registered, and more than 200 additional people participated in affiliated cultural events.
Thanks to financial support from Goldbelt Heritage Foundation, every presentation – over 60 hours – was recorded on video by KTOO-TV. Financial support from the National Science Foundation contributed the video production, and allowed us to recompense elders for travel and other expenses.
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]
Over the four days of September 26-29, conference attendees met for plenary sessions in the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall and then broke out into concurrent work sessions there and at the nearby Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums facility, and in the production studio of KTOO-TV.
More than 360 people registered for the event, with an additional ~200 people who attended associated events such as the bringing out ceremony for the re-created Sculpin Hat, gifted by the Smithsonian Institution to the Kiks.ádi Clan, and the Goldbelt Heritage Foundation healing events held during the evenings. Presentations of weaving and other fabric arts, 3-D scanning of regalia, and demonstrations of Tlingit spear-throwers were held throughout the conference.
The 2019 conference 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.
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
About the SOK Conference
This unique biennial event 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-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 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, #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
The Organizing Committee
Executive Director; Satóok’ (Linda Belarde); Guneiwtí (Marsha Hotch); Gunaak’w (Sergei Kan); Wooshkeekaa (Brooke Leslie); K’ashdahein Éesh (Peter Metcalfe); Sigoop (Alfie Price); Shaagunasstaa (Bob Sam); Ljáakk’ (Alice Taff).
The Sharing Our Knowledge Conference provides venues, support, and encouragement for the presentation of topics relevant to the people indigenous to Southeast Alaska, 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 Sharing Our Knowledge.