Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_Sealaska Heritage Institute to sponsor Ernestine Hayes as first speaker in fall lecture series

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Free event to be offered in-person, virtually

Sept. 1, 2021


Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a lecture on Thursday as part of its new fall series on a wide variety of topics beginning with award-winning author and professor Ernestine Hayes.

In her talk, An Alaska Native Memoir: Our Lives are Stories Telling Themselves, Hayes will examine what it means to be Indigenous in 21st century Alaska and share the question that guides her story forward. 

Hayes will recount the challenges, obstacles and opportunities that defined her path from territorial Alaska to San Francisco and beyond while holding to her roots of having been born in the Juneau Indian Village at the end of the Second World War.

Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes belongs to the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan clan of the Eagle side of the Tlingit nation. Hayes was a Rasmuson Distinguished Artist in 2021 and Alaska Writer Laureate from 2016-2018. She is the grandmother of four, great-grandmother of three, and the author of Blonde Indian: an Alaska Native Memoir and The Tao of Raven.

The lecture is scheduled for 12 pm, Thursday, Sept. 8, in Shuká Hít within SHI’s Walter Soboleff Building, 105 S. Seward St. in Juneau. The lectures will be livestreamed and posted on SHI’s YouTube channel.

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: Ernestine Hayes, courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute. Note: News outlets are welcome to use this photo for coverage of this story. For a higher-res image, contact