Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI’s Council of Traditional Scholars to hold workshop on cultural memorial ceremony

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In-person and virtual event open to tribal members

Aug. 16, 2023

(About the Council of Traditional Scholars)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will host a cultural training on memorial ceremonies this month led by its Council of Traditional Scholars.

The Southeast Alaska Native mortuary complex is unique to Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures, and it entails a very specific series of activities to maintain social and spiritual balance and to support opposite clans and clan members in grief.

At the training, the scholars will go over the protocols that should be followed immediately after an individual dies up until the ku.éex’, a ceremony that marks the end of sorrow that is held roughly one year after the death.

The scholars will discuss the selection of a Naa Káani (leader of an opposite clan who provides consultation and guidance during the ceremony), the role of donations, the selection of pallbearers and other important protocols.

The workshop, scheduled 1:30-4 pm, Aug. 28, at SHI, is targeting young clan leaders and spokespeople and is open to tribal members in-person at SHI’s clan house in Juneau or through Zoom. To attend in-person or via Zoom, pre-register with David Russell-Jensen at Tribal members with any questions about the event may contact

About the Council of Traditional Scholars

SHI’s programs are guided by its Council of Traditional Scholars, a panel of Native people who are knowledgeable about the cultural practices, traditional ways and languages of Southeast Alaska’s Indigenous people.

The current council includes the following:

  • Kaax̱kaatuklag̱é Ken Grant, Chair
  • Ḵaanáḵ Ruth Demmert
  • Ḵinkawduneek Paul Marks
  • Yeilnaawú Joe Zuboff
  • Xúuts Kéenggulaa Robert Edwardson 
  • Shiggoap Alfie Price  

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: Clan at.óow (sacred objects) laid out at a memorial. Photo by Brian Wallace, courtesy of SHI. Note: Media outlets are welcome to use this image for coverage of this story. For a high-resolution version, contact