SHI designed the Our Ancestors' Echoes program to increase the number of Alaska Native students in Southeast Alaska who have access to educators teaching their heritage language. Building on the success of the Our Language Pathway project, this work also prioritizes supporting and retaining current language educators, increasing wider access to language courses, and supporting mental health and healing work in the community. Additionally, the program includes the establishment of an immersive language community for 6 scholars enrolled in a bachelor’s degree in Indigenous Studies in Language at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and the publication of language resources in X̱aad Kíl, Sm'algyax, and Lingít.
SHI funds scholarships for language students enrolled at the University of Alaska Southeast who are studying Xaad Kíl, Sm’algyax, and Lingít.
Indigenizing Education for Alaska (IEA) improves the educational landscape for Alaska Native students by cultivating teachers and school leaders who reflect their culture, values, and life experiences. The program also fosters future generations of Alaskan educators by recruiting upper-level high school to early college students into the field of education. The program financially supports education-degree or certificate-seeking college students while ensuring their college education experience is culturally relevant.
SHI has partnered with the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) to develop and offer an Associate of Arts (AA) degree with an emphasis on Northwest Coast arts. The undergraduate program includes a wide spectrum of classes—from tool making to design, basketry and weaving among others. The program, which will be offered this fall at the university’s Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka campuses, is part of a larger effort to establish a four-year degree track through UAS and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Thanks to an MOA between SHI, UAS, and IAIA, students who earn an AA degree with a NWC Arts emphasis have the option to transfer credits and pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from IAIA. Students can also work toward a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences or education at UAS or the broader University of Alaska system.
In addition to art classes, the program requires students to complete courses in Alaska Native studies, Indigenous performing arts and a language class on beginning Tlingit, Haida or Tsimshian, as well as Northwest Coast design, art history and culture, art theory and practice, and career development for artists.
We perpetuate, enhance and share Southeast Alaskan Native culture through our Institute, our store, and our True Southeast visitor experience.