Remembering Nora Marks Dauenhauer

Sealaska is saddened at the loss of Ḵeixwnéi, Nora Dauenhauer. Nora along with her husband Richard, documented Tlingit history through scholarly writing and through extensive research to uphold Tlingit history, culture and language. Nora Dauenhauer is remembered as an accomplished writer, poet, linguist, researcher and respected elder.

Nora and Richard Dauenhauer featured in Sealaska ad, image by Brian Wallace

(pictured right - Nora Dauenhauer featured on the cover of the 2014 Sealaska Annual Report, along with Lejon Robertson, Jr. Images by Todd Antioquia)

In 2014, Sealaska looked to Nora and a young descendant, Lejon Robertson, to represent Sealaska’s financial success and remaining “On The Path”.  “As we looked at how we represent our financial performance for 2014, we went back to a core Native value called Haa Shuká,” said Sealaska President and CEO Anthony Mallott. “Haa Shuká, means our past, present and future and was a meaningful theme. When I look at the 2014 annual report cover and I see Nora’s eyes, personally I get a couple of messages. One is the deep wisdom that exists in our culture. The other message I see, through Nora’s eyes, is the expectation that the wisdom will be handed down to the next generation. It’s our responsibility to carry forward what our ancestors and leaders like Nora have carried for us.”

Nora Dauenhauer was Raven, Lukaax.adi. (Sockeye clan). Nora Marks was born May 8, 1927, to Emma Marks (1913–2006) of Yakutat, Alaska, and Willie Marks (1902–1981), a Tlingit from Hoonah, Alaska.

Nora and Richard have many accomplishments that will benefit future generations that want to learn about the Tlingit culture and language.

A glimpse of the accomplishments of Nora Dauenhauer

  • 1976 -  First edition Beginning Tlingit book
  • Anthologized creative writer whose Raven plays have been performed internationally, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
  • 1989 - Alaska Governor’s Award for the Arts
  • 2007 - Lifetime achievement award from Central Council
  • 2008 - American Book Award for “Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka 1802 and 1804.”
  • 2010 – Inducted into Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame
  • 2011 – Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Honor
  • 2012 – 2014 – Nora named Alaska State Writer Laureate. Her husband appointed Alaska State Writer Laureate in 1981
  • 2013 commencement speaker at Alaska Pacific University, her alma mater (graduated in 1976)
  • “Beginning Tlingit workbook,” released May 2017, the main text used in the workbook is based upon the amazing work by Richard & Nora Dauenhauer

Resources about Nora Dauenhauer
•    Nora Dauenhauer reads her poem “Salmon Egg Puller” by Sealaska
•    Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Honor published by Ecotrust

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