Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on old travel routes between Alaska, Canada

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Free event to be offered virtually, in-person

Aug. 11, 2021

(About the Lecturer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a free lecture next week on old travel routes between northern Southeast Alaska and Canada.

Through the lecture, Trails from Long Ago: the Deishu-Chilkat Trail to the Yukon, Tim Ackerman of the L’uknax.ádi clan will give an overview of trails in Chilkat/Chilkoot country that lead into the Yukon and served as important trade routes for the Tlingit people.

Ackerman, who grew up in Chilkat/Chilkoot country in the Haines and Skagway area, has devoted many years to conducting research on the trails and documenting the routes through first-hand observation as well as through oral history.

“I have spent the past 15-20 years researching and re-tracing these routes, combined with collecting oral history in the United States and Canada. I have travelled along the trails from both directions and will show photos of the existing trails, including the intersection as the Chilkat Trail approaches Kusawa Lake (Yukon Territory) where it connects with trails that go to Carcross, Champaign, or continues along the Talkini River to Kusawa Lake and finally to Dawson,” he wrote.

The lecture is scheduled at 12 pm, Wednesday, Aug. 17, in the clan house at Sealaska Heritage Institute. A question-and-answer session will follow. SHI will livestream the lecture on its YouTube channel

About the Lecturer

Ackerman was born in Skagway and spent his youth in Haines and throughout Southeast Alaska. In his youth, he was a stream surveyor for the Alaska Fish and Game Department mapping all the streams in the Chilkat Valley and along the Chilkoot River. From the early 1980s to 2005 he worked for the Port of Juneau in numerous positions, eventually serving as a maritime security officer and, after 9/11, on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. In 2009, he joined Tlingit artist Wayne Price in hosting a canoe camp on the Yukon River for at-risk youth from Whitehorse, from which the film “Dugout” was made.  During winter months, he hunts seals and sends them to the Alaska Native Hospital in Anchorage which provides seal meat to their patients from around the state. He carries the name “Stranger from the North” and brings that heritage to life in his travels to and from the interior.

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: Kathy Dye, SHI Communications and Publications Deputy Director, 907.321.4636,

Caption: Area where the Takhini and the Chilkat River route meet Kusawa Lake. Note: news outlets are welcome to use this image for coverage of this story. Photo courtesy of Tim Ackerman. For a higher-res version, contact