Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on historical interactions among Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian societies

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Free event to be offered virtually

Feb. 9, 2021

(About the Lecturer) (Flyer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a free lecture this Thursday on the historical interactions and relations among Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian societies.

The lecture will be given by Steve J. Langdon, Ph.D., professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Interactions and relations among Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian societies were complex and multidimensional in the pre- and post-contact periods, Dr. Langdon wrote.  Despite three distinct and unrelated languages, group interactions constructed cultural beliefs, institutions and practices that provided a framework that channeled engagement between groups. 

 “In my talk, I will present an introduction to those relations discussing oral traditions of origin, archeology, social structure, ceremonial practices and cosmological and spiritual beliefs.  Attention will be paid to cultural accounts of trade, conflict and population movements. Special consideration will be given to the role of the shaman in the ‘spiritualized pragmatics’ of each group,” he wrote.

The talk, which is scheduled at noon on Thursday, Feb.11, is part of 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 livestreamed 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.   

About the Lecturer

Dr. Stephen J. Langdon is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he taught for 38 years. Dr. Langdon has conducted research projects on many public policy issues impacting Alaska Natives over his 45 year career. He has advocated for policies that enhance and promote rural Alaska Native communities and their cultures in such areas as fisheries, lands, tribal government, cultural heritage, customary trade and co-management.  Dr. Langdon has specialized in research on the history and culture of the Tlingit and Haida peoples of Southeast Alaska from pre-contact conditions through the historic period of 19th and early 20th century US governance. He has conducted extensive research on traditional ecological knowledge and uses of salmon by the Tlingit and Haida demonstrating the complex and rich relations between the people and salmon that sustained their cultures for centuries. His book, The Native People of Alaska, is a widely used introduction to Alaska Native people. 

The Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) selected him to give the keynote address to their 100th convention in 2012. He has received the Bullock Prize from the University of Alaska Foundation for career excellence in contributions to Alaska, and the Denali Award from the Alaska Federation of Natives for his contributions to Alaska Native life; this is the highest award given by AFN to a non-Native person.

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,