Sealaska Heritage


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Thank you veterans

In commemoration of Veterans Day, we offer this roundup of videos honoring Alaska Native veterans, including Tlingit code talkers, and traditional warriors. Thank you veterans for your honorable service and for all you have sacrificed to protect our peoples and our land. 

"Hunting in Wartime"
This video features a screening of an excerpt of the film Hunting in Wartime, which profiles the lives of Tlingit veterans from Hoonah who fought in the Vietnam War, followed by a panel discussion with Vietnam veterans Donald See, George Lindoff, Fred Bennett, Warren Sheakley, Royal Hill and James Lindoff moderated by Southeast Alaska Native Veterans Commander Ozzie Sheakley:   Blog: 

“Honoring our Nation’s Code Talkers”
Navajo code talkers have long been recognized for the crucial part they played in World War II. But until very recently, no one knew that Tlingit code talkers also used the Tlingit language as a code that the enemy was never able to crack. Even the families of the Tlingit code talkers did not know of their secret service. In this talk, Southeast Alaska Native Veterans Commander Ozzie Sheakley opens with comments about the Tlingit code talkers, and he is followed by Judith Avila, author of the best-selling book "Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII:” 

“The Way of the Warrior”
In this lecture, Kai Monture of the Kʼinéix̱ Ḵwáan in Yakutat talks about the training he received from his grandfather, George Ramos, who is an expert on Tlingit warriors:

“ ‘Terrifying Visages’: Armored Warriors of the northern Northwest Coast”
In this talk, curator Steve Henrikson of the Alaska State Museum shows images of armor mostly housed in museums and cultural centers around the world. Henrikson has located nearly one hundred war helmets in museums and private collections, with new ones showing up every year or two. The helmets—elaborately carved with fearsome sculptures of clan crests, ancestors, and spirits—are part of a system of armor that protected the face, body and appendages: 

(Photo: Panelists Fred Bennett, Donald See, Royal Hill, Warren Sheakley, George Lindoff and James Lindoff spoke about their experiences during and after the Vietnam War at an event sponsored by SHI in 2016. Photo by Brian Wallace.)