Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture series on earliest presence of Indigenous populations in region

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Free events to be offered virtually

Jan. 6, 2021


Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a lecture series this month that explores the origins and earliest presence of Indigenous populations and cultures in Southeast Alaska from traditional knowledge and various scientific perspectives.

All lectures will be live streamed at 12 pm Alaska time on SHI’s YouTube channel,, and available for viewing on YouTube any time after the livestream (no account required). This program is provided under the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program and funded by the Alaska Native Education Program. The series is also offered as a one-credit course through the University of Alaska Southeast. Contact for more information.

Tuesday, Jan. 12

  • Ice Age Migration and Settlement in Southeast Alaska: Human Response to Climate Change by E. James Dixon, professor emeritus of anthropology and the former director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

Thursday, Jan. 14

  • Paleogenomics, Community Engagement and Evolutionary Histories of Indigenous peoples of Southeast Alaska and North Coast of British Columbia by Ripan S. Malhi, a Richard and Margaret Romano Professor in the Department of Anthropology, School of Integrative Biology, American Indian Studies program and Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Tuesday, Jan. 19

  • Evolution of Northwest Coast Art by Steve Brown, an independent researcher, author and artist focused on the Northwest Coast art traditions for all of his adult life. He has been involved in carving projects in Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington State and has authored several well-received books on the subject.

Thursday, Jan. 21

  • Spiritualized Pragmatics: Shared Perspectives and Productive Intersections of Existence Scapes among the Haida, Tsimshian and Tlingit of the Northern Northwest Coast by Dr. Steve J. Langdon, emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Tuesday, Jan. 26                            

  • Alpine Cairns and Social and Environmental Change in Southeast Alaska by Tom Thornton, dean of arts and sciences and vice-provost of Research and Sponsored programs at the University of Alaska Southeast and affiliate professor at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute.

Thursday, Jan. 28

  • Overview of the Dene languages and the Place of Tlingit in Na-Dene by SHI linguist Jeff Leer, a professor emeritus of linguistics at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Tuesday, Feb. 2

  • Tlingit and the Dene-Yeniseian Hypothesis by Dr. Edward Vajda, professor at Western Washington University.

Thursday, Feb. 4

  • The Tsimshianic Language Family, its Ancestry and Distant Relatives by Marie-Lucie Tarpent a Canadian linguist and retired associate professor of linguistics and French at Mount Saint Vincent University [MSVU], Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Tuesday, Feb. 9

  • The Haida Language: Origins, External Relationships and Language Contact Through the Lenses of Linguistics, Other Sciences and Oral Histories by Marianne Boelscher Ignace, Gulḵiihlgad, professor of linguistics and Indigenous studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, and director of SFU’s Indigenous Languages Program.

This program is provided under the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program and funded by the Alaska Native Education Program.

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,