Sealaska Heritage


New Arts Campus
SHI kicks off campaign

(Website) (Brochure) (Donate) (Construction Begins!) SHI has officially launched its fundraising campaign to build a Native arts campus at Heritage Square, kicking off what will become a preeminent cultural space in downtown Juneau. The Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus is phase two of SHI’s vision to make Juneau the Northwest Coast arts capital of the world and to designate NWC art a national treasure. 


Juneau as arts capital
northwest coast art

By Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian Magazine — When it comes to art capitals, Rome, New York, Paris and Berlin are a few of the global hot spots that come to mind. However, if the city of Juneau, Alaska, has any say in the matter, it could very well earn a coveted spot on the list. 

2021 Traditional Games
sATURDAY: Juneau

The 2021 Northern Regional Native Youth Olympics Traditional Games will stream live from Juneau this weekend and feature teams from Juneau, Hoonah, Anchorage and Unalakleet. The northern games are scheduled 9:30 am-5 pm, Saturday, May 8, and from 9:30 am-1 pm, Sunday, May 9. (Flyer)

cultural training

SHI is accepting proposals from presenters for its fourth Culturally Responsive Education Conference, which is part of a larger effort to promote culturally responsive pedagogy in schools. For the second time, the three-day event will be held virtually because of the COVID-19 virus. (Conference Website)

2021 Traditional Games

The 2021 Southern Regional Native Youth Olympics Traditional Games will be held in Ketchikan in late May this weekend and feature teams from the southern area of the region. The southern games are scheduled 9:30 am-5 pm, Saturday, May 22, and from 9:30 am-1 pm, Sunday, May 23. (Flyer)

KTOO recordings
SHI set to digitize

SHI  has received funding to digitize a major collection of audio recordings that include a trove of interviews with notable Elders, clan leaders and other Native people that date back more than 35 years. The collection includes hundreds of recordings made for the award-winning public radio program Southeast Native Radio, which was broadcast by KTOO-FM in Juneau from 1985 to 2001. 


SHI will hold an in-person Celebration in Juneau from June 8-11 in 2022. SHI’s board of trustees made the decision this week, in part because participants and staff need many months in advance to plan for the four-day event. We encourage people to book hotel rooms as soon as possible.

Summer academies, camps
2021 calendar

SHI is offering a number of upcoming events and opportunities, including Native art classes and summer camps for youth. Click here to see our 2021 calendar of events.

Tuition waivers
Online classes

SHI and the University of Alaska Southeast are offering tuition waivers to Alaska Native freshmen and sophomores (fewer than 60 total credits from the University of Alaska) living in Alaska. The classes are distance learning. The waivers are offered through the PITAAS program (Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska’s Schools). Application deadline: May 14. 

Tlingit opera

SHI will offer a two-day online “Singing/Acting in Tlingit Workshop” for Indigenous actors and singers to learn techniques to perform in the Tlingit language. The workshop is part of SHI’s Virtual Artist in Residence series, which this month features Ed Littlefield, and will support a Tlingit opera under development /

sea otters, subsistence

SHI will host a free lecture free lecture next Tuesday, March 30, on the effects that sea otters and people have on shellfish beds in rural Southeast Alaska communities.

a new first
Tlingit opera

Sealaska Heritage is partnering with Juneau’s Perseverance Theatre to write and produce the first Tlingit opera in recorded history. This original opera will focus on stories from the Tlingit-Russian War in Alaska waged in 1802 and 1804 and be based on historical facts and oral traditions as told from the Tlingit perspective. 

celebration digitization

This blog takes a closer look at how SHI is digitizing all its past Celebration tapes and posting them online to make them publicly available for the first time


An Alaska firm has donated $15,000 to help build SHI'S Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus, currently under construction in Juneau. The contribution was made by McKinley, owner of McKinley Capital Management and McKinley Research Group, and puts the project one step closer to raising the remaining funds for the campus, which is scheduled to open later this year.

maker kit mailout

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has mailed the second set of 1,300 learning kits to middle school students in six communities in Southeast Alaska enrolled in its Opening the Box: STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education program.

Lawsuit Settled

SHI and the heirs of the famed Tlingit weaver Clarissa Rizal have settled their lawsuit against several defendants regarding a retail item that was marketed as a “Ravenstail Knitted Coat.” In the lawsuit, SHI and Rizal’s children, Lily Hope, Kahlil Hudson and Ursala Hudson, claimed that the sale of the “Ravenstail Knitted Coat” violated the Indian Arts and Crafts Act...

Job OpportunitIES

SHI is seeking an education conference planning administrative assistant, a finance associate and a culture and history administrative assistant.


SHI will sponsor a free online lecture series focusing on Alaska Native subsistence. All lectures will be livestreamed at 12 pm Alaska time on SHI’s YouTube channel and be available for viewing after the livestream.


A Fairbanks foundation has donated an exquisite Chilkat robe to Sealaska Heritage Institute in an effort to return it to its homeland. The piece, which is small and apparently made for a child, was woven in the traditional way using cedar bark. The robe’s exact origins and the name of the weaver are unknown.

Celebration 1982
Video Released

Sealaska Heritage has digitized and put online video of its premiere Celebration, a dance-and-culture festival first held in 1982 that has grown into the world’s largest gathering of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people. The entire event, which was documented on a now-obsolete video platform, is now viewable for the first time in decades on SHI’s YouTube channel. (Watch)

Celebration 2021

SHI's board of trustees has opted to cancel Celebration 2021, which was tentatively scheduled for June this year after the coronavirus sidelined the in-person event in 2020. The decision came today after the board assessed the latest scientific evidence on the state of the pandemic. 

baby raven reads
New Books

SHI has published four new books through its award-winning Baby Raven Reads program, including an original Raven story written by children and three books that teach the Lingít and Sm’algya̱x languages. The release includes Raven and the Hidden Halibut, an origin story based on traditional oral narratives. In the story,Halibut invites Raven to a game of hide and seek, and Raven is surprised how well Halibut, a bright white fish, can hide.

Spruce-root weaving
Old technique rediscovered

Two artists participating in Sealaska Heritage's spruce-root mentorship program have discovered what is thought to be an old weaving technique that was lost to time. Haida master weaver Delores Churchill and her apprentice, Tlingit and Haida artist Debbie Aanutein Head, made the find while studying an old spruce-root hat housed at the Alaska State Museum.

App Period Open

SHI is accepting applications for Sealaska scholarships for the 2021-2022 scholar year. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2021. However, SHI is offering a $50 incentive to those who complete their scholarship application on or before Feb. 1 and who are accepted as scholarship recipients...(more)