Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on Indigenous knowledge of Yakutat people

<<back to news page


Talk part of Native American Heritage Month

November 26, 2018

(Lecturer Biographies) (Flyer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) this week will sponsor a lecture on the Indigenous knowledge of the people of Yakutat, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.

In their lecture, Highlights from a Video Archive of Yakutat Indigenous Knowledge, Judy Ramos, assistant professor of Alaska Native Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Aron Crowell, an archaeologist and anthropologist with the Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage, will discuss the Yakutat Seal Camps Project, which ran from 2011-2014 and combined oral tradition and archaeology to explore 1,000 years of community history.

Ramos, who is Tlingit Raven from Yakutat, and Crowell will show highlights from videos made during the project that documented Yakutat stories and Indigenous knowledge.

“Elders told about the retreat of the glaciers, the migrations of Ahtna, Eyak, and Tlingit clans, and ancestral ways of life,” Crowell wrote. “Archaeologists and students retraced the past at long-lost village sites and sealing camps, and hunters demonstrated the community's continued reliance on seals and other foods from the icy, biologically-rich fiord.”

The lecture is scheduled at noon on Thursday, Nov. 29, in the Living History Room at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau. The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome.


Judy Ramos is from the Kwáashk’ikwáan/Gineixkwáan clan in Yakutat. Her Tlingit name is Daxootsu. Ramos’s Ph.D. project is part of an Arctic Studies Center Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History research project documenting the 900-year history of Alaska Natives’ relationship to the Hubbard Glacier and seal hunting in Yakutat Bay. She is a member of the Mt. St. Elias Dancers and enjoys beading and working on subsistence food from her village.

Dr. Aron L. Crowell is an Arctic/Subarctic archaeologist and anthropologist whose research and publications have focused primarily on the peoples of the Gulf of Alaska region, where he is currently leading an NSF-funded study of the human and environmental history of Yakutat Bay in partnership with the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe. Crowell is the Alaska director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center in Anchorage and curator of the Center’s collaborative exhibition Living Our Cultures, Sharing Our Heritage: The First Peoples of Alaska.

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,

For a higher resolution image, contact