Message from Shareholder Vicki Soboleff
We just finished our first weaving classes, thanks to Sealaska’s Carving and Bark Program! Classes were held August 2019, through January 20, 2020. It was such a treat to teach the class alongside assistant teachers Fredrick Anderson and Carrie Sykes.
I lived in Alaska for 48 years of my life and have fond memories of people and home in Ketchikan and Juneau, AK. Like many shareholders, I now find myself living out of state. I moved to Washington in 2017 — I began cultural classes in July 2018 when I started the Xaat’aay ‘Waadluwaan Gaagaay (All Nations’ Children) dancers with Karen Lauth Elliott and Hltanuu Nathan.
Being an Alaska Native and Sealaska shareholder who lives outside of Alaska can at times feel disconnected. Those of us in Washington take advantage of every chance we get to stay connected or get together. But we now have the opportunity to stay connected to our land and stay connected to our ancestors because of the Sealaska Carving and Bark Program. We are so appreciative receiving the first shipment of bark for Washington area shareholders. The result has been nothing less than spectacular. We have completed 12 cedar bark hats! But more importantly, these have all been by beginning weavers for the most part.
Supplies of bark are so precious and valued that the classes have been very well received. The participants are thrilled with their hats and there is an immediate sense of unity and connection.
Some of my favorite memories growing up are the smell and feel of yellow cedar while weaving. I really enjoyed making small rectangular baskets. Now, I am able to hand down the knowledge to the next generation of weavers.
I’m proud of Sealaska who is helping with paddle workshops and now offering weaving materials to ensure the traditional ways are carried into the future.
I definitely see the joy and pride in the eyes of participants. The experience of sharing these art forms is truly special. Many comment, “I never thought I would be able to weave a hat.” Some say, “I wish my Dad (or Mom or Nana) could see me; they would be so proud of me.”
Gunalchéesh to Sealaska’s Carving and Bark Program for the donation, and
Gunalchéesh to our teachers for spending their time assisting in these classes. With every weave, the hats we made together connected us to our home, and the memories we made together strengthen our bond as shareholders living in Washington. This was a priceless gift. We want to thank and note the following attendees.
A family of four: Lee family (including a foster child)
A three-generation family:
Pamela Horine (grandmother)
Anya Van Hoecke (daughter)
Heide Van Hoecke (granddaughter)
Sherri Thomas (Yates)
Linda Turner (Guthrie)
Anya and Heide Van Hoecke