Sealaska Heritage


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April 4, 2020

Sealaska Heritage team working remotely, transforming SHI to provide services in the reality of our new world. #VirtualWorld #HomeOffice #NotAlone

March 16, 2020

A new message from SHI President Rosita Worl:

“The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to rapidly and radically alter our behavior as a society.  In response, the Sealaska Heritage Institute is continuing to adapt its operations protocol to best ensure the safety of our staff and community while at the same time continuing to provide our ongoing services.  

Consequently, effective today, March 16, 2020, SHI will be closed to the public.  However, we will still continue to be available through telephone and email.  You may call our main line at (907) 463-4844 and our receptionist will forward you on to the appropriate staff.  Individual email addresses are online: / You may also use our general email, which goes to staff:

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel a number of lectures, workshops and events.  We are hopeful that we will be able to reschedule them in the near future.  As I noted in an earlier message, our Board of Trustees will be making the decision about whether we will cancel or postpone Celebration 2020 on April 15.  

We will continue to engage the public through our digital platforms.  With the closure of SHI to the public, we are assessing how we can expand our presence through social media and how we can continue providing our programs and activities through virtual programming.  For example, we are working to support a virtual competition between Juneau Arctic Sports (Native Youth Olympics) athletes and Team Yukon Arctic Sports called “Just for Kicks” this Tuesday, March 17, from 8 am-4 pm Alaska time.

SHI is also implementing a Temporary Telecommuting Policy to allow for some staff to work remotely.  However, we will have a team of essential personnel on site whose work cannot be conducted remotely.  We will ensure that our tasks and obligations continue to be performed and met through both the staff who will work remotely and with the onsite employees who will also maintain our facility and protect our archives and collections.

SHI’s executive team is identifying mission-critical projects that can be accomplished should we have to move toward complete facility closure. We recognize the gravity of the challenge we face but there is also a great opportunity for creativity and achievement. I am confident that SHI’s staff will rise to the challenge. 

We are assessing the full range of impacts resulting from the closure of SHI and the impacts from other changes that are prompted by the Coronavirus such as the decrease in the visitor industry.  We are identifying what mitigating efforts we might make.  This is an unprecedented moment but it is essential that we continue our work and that we innovate to seek measures to offset the impacts.  We also know that this is a time when we must keep our morale high.

We as a People have been through times of uncertainty, but like our ancestors, who adapted to the forces of change, this is also a time for our People and SHI to distinguish ourselves as civic leaders and creative thinkers.  

Please do not hesitate to contact SHI with your thoughts and ideas.  We are grateful for the ongoing support we have received.”

Rosita Kaaháni Worl, Ph.D.

President, Sealaska Heritage Institute

March 16, 2020

Because of the unfolding uncertainty about the Coronavirus​, Sealaska Heritage’s building, including the Sealaska Heritage Store, will be closed to the public until further notice. 

March 12, 2020

Due to the unfolding Coronavirus outbreak, we have cancelled today’s panel and screening of SHI’s new video Gáax’w ka Haaw (Herring Eggs and Branches). We have also postponed our art lecture series until further notice.

March 12, 2020

Due to the unfolding Coronavirus outbreak, we have closed our Archives to outside patrons until further notice.  This is an important measure to ensure the health of our Archives staff and safety of the papers.  We will also be roping off the interactive exhibit in the Nathan Jackson Gallery, which has three primary displays all operated by touch screens, until further notice.  This is for the safety of staff and the public, to remove any opportunity for transmission of the virus through physical contact with the displays.  The Tlingit War and Peace exhibit will remain open for the present because the displays do not entail physical contact by visitors.  This may change as advisories about the possible transmission of the virus evolve. Researchers may still reach out with questions, and we will do our best to accommodate remote reference requests.

March 11, 2020

A note on the Coronavirus from SHI President Rosita Worl:

I want to assure you all that Sealaska Heritage Institute is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and we are taking action based on guidance from public health experts.  We have increased our safety protocols, including the frequency and intensity of our sanitation and disinfection efforts throughout the building.  High contact areas such as door handles, elevator buttons, railings, and restrooms are being cleaned thoroughly multiple times per day and hand sanitizer is available throughout the offices.  We have also cancelled all out-of-state travel by employees. SHI will continue to refine its protocols based on public health recommendations.

We ask that you use your best judgment when planning to visit Sealaska Heritage. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home to protect the health of others. We are reviewing our scheduled events and whether current schedules will be cancelled or postponed.  We will keep communicating regularly with updates, so please do check on our website:  

It is our hope that these steps will help contribute to the sustained good health of our community and will offer some assurance during this distressing time. 

Celebration 2020: The Board of Trustees will be considering the latest information on the status of the Coronovirus and on April 15 will make a decision on whether to cancel or postpone Celebration, which is scheduled June 10-13, 2020.

Kind regards, 
Rosita Kaaháni Worl, Ph.D.
President, Sealaska Heritage Institute