Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_Longtime Juneau photojournalist wins person of distinction award

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Honor given during SHI’s virtual Celebration 2020

June 11, 2020

Longtime Tlingit photojournalist Brian Wallace was honored with a 2020 “Person of Distinction” award by Sealaska Heritage Institute’s (SHI) Board of Trustees on Thursday during the SHI’s virtual Celebration 2020 broadcast.

In a video played during the program, SHI President Rosita Worl noted Wallace’s many years spent documenting Celebration since the first event was held in 1982. She also thanked Wallace for his donations of archival materials and ethnographic objects to SHI, including tools and formline designs made by his father, the late Amos Wallace, who is credited for helping to keep Northwest Coast ancient practices alive at a time when the knowledge was in danger of being lost.

Wallace has also donated hundreds of old photos to SHI depicting important events in Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian history.

SHI virtually presented Wallace with a cedar award embedded with a copper tináa in addition to a wool “Blanket of Knowledge” during the broadcast.

Wallace documented Celebration for the Juneau Empire for three decades before being named SHI’s official Celebration photographer in 2008. His photos of Celebration are featured in many public places—most recently at the American Museum of Natural History, which is curating an educational panel about Native Northwest Coast people.

“Through his photography, Brian has helped educate the country about the rich cultures and cultural survival of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian,” according to a video played during the event.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,