Andrew Hope III
It was Andy Hope’s idea hold a conference of Tlingit Tribes and Clans. Richard and Nora Marks Dauenhauer signed on early and provided much organizational help. Andy, Richard and Nora were founding members of Tlingit Readers, Inc., the non-profit organization that was to sponsor the first and later conferences.
The three have since passed away: in 2008 (Andy), 2014 (Dick), and 2017 (Nora).
Andy had been pushing for this type of conference for many years. He organized conferences of tradition bearers (elders) to create a list of clans and clan houses that became the “Traditional Tlingit Country” poster (now in its sixth printing), and with Canadian Tlingits living in northern British Columbia and the Yukon.
The first of the Sharing Our Knowledge conferences, held in Haines and Klukwan in May 1993, proved to be a break-away success. Hundreds of people attended and dozens of experts presented. Raven and Eagle host clans held culture nights and Klukwan opened clan houses for tours, with displays of priceless regalia and clan art. As Andy said amid the tumult, “There’s a hunger for this!”
In the “founding documents,” the newspaper op-ed columns published in 1992 and 1993, Andy describes his vision of the gathering he was organizing and, in an afterword in July 1993, an appreciation of the grand collaboration that became the Sharing Our Knowledge conferences, going strong a quarter of a century after Andy brought his idea into being.