Look for link to download portraits at the bottom.
The smell of sanded cedar filled the Steele Gallery at the Heard Museum on October 28. About 40 Sealaska shareholders, all at once, were sanding their own small dance paddles in preparation for painted formline designed by Tlingit master artist Doug Chilton. The sound of 40 people sanding at once echoed through the facility. The small paddle workshop was one of five offered as a part of a Sealaska shareholder event in Phoenix, AZ.
The Phoenix event is part of Sealaska’s larger community outreach efforts, with a goal of reaching more shareholders wherever they may live. Approximately 450 shareholders live in Arizona, and a total of 1400 in the 500 miles surrounding Phoenix. We welcomed about 150 people, including shareholders and their families, offering the first opportunity for shareholders to connect with Sealaska in Arizona for Sealaska in over 20 years. Shareholders were excited to see Sealaska. While many attendees were based in the greater Phoenix area, some shareholders drove for hours to attend.
The gathering offered shareholders a chance to tangibly reconnect with culture, putting their hands on materials from the traditional homelands of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. In addition to the paddle-making workshop, participants were offered a cedar headband weaving class with Director Vicki Soboleff. The dance paddles and cedar bark were made available through Sealaska’s Carving and Bark program. We heard many shareholders tell us, getting their hands on their culture and connecting with Sealaska and others was meaningful and an amazing experience.
Time was set aside to hear a Sealaska update from Anthony Mallott, President & CEO as well as public policy efforts from Jaeleen Kookesh, Vice President of Public Policy and Legal Affairs.
One agenda highlight was watching Heard Museum Hoop Dancers, including champion hoop dancer Derik Davis, perform. Sealaska offered five workshops along with family portraits and a Q&A with Tlingit artist James Johnson, of Phoenix.
Sealaska invited James Johnson to join us. James is an Award-Winning Tlingit Artist and Carver, born and raised in Juneau, AK. He is Tlingit Ch’áak’ (eagle) Dakl’aweidí (killer whale) clan from Angoon.You all may have seen his art on a pair of shoes. He collaborated with the footwear company Vans on a collection.