Haida Culture

Haida Culture

Baby Raven Reads

SHI’s Baby Raven Reads series offers culturally-based books for children up to age 5 and includes stunning place-based illustrations. SHI's Baby Raven Reads literacy program was named a Library of Congress Literacy Awards Best Practice Honoree, one of 15 programs in the world to receive the honor in 2017.

Exhibits

SHI curates exhibits to educate the public about Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures. SHI offers individual tickets and private tours. Click here for an overview of our current exhibits.

Voices on the Land

Voices on the Land provides literacy-based, artist residencies in 4th and 5th grade classrooms, with Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian languages and cultural values forming the basis of instruction. The program integrates visual, performing, and digital arts with traditional knowledge. Through the experience, students use storytelling to create stop motion animation videos; learn the elements of Northwest Coast formline design, while keeping an artist’s journal and making a traditional drum; and use the skills of the actor’s toolbox and reader’s theater to explore and perform Raven Stories handed down through the ages. Voices on the Land also provides an in-person summer and winter arts intensive program for students in grades 4-8, as well as a virtual summer intensive program for students in grades 4-8 who live outside of Juneau.

Northwest Coast Arts Degree Program

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.

Baby Raven Reads

Sealaska Heritage sponsors Baby Raven Reads, an award-winning program that promotes early-literacy, language development and school readiness for Alaska Native families with children up to age 5. The pilot program in Juneau ended in 2017, and SHI received funding to offer the program for several more years and to expand it to nine other communities in Southeast Alaska. SHI is currently offering the program in Anchorage, Angoon, Craig, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Juneau, Kake, Ketchikan, Klukwan, Metlakatla, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell, and Yakutat. Special thanks to our partners: Alaska Native Heritage Center, Association of Alaska School Boards, Metlakatla Indian Community, Ketchikan Indian Community, Chilkat Indian Village, Organized Village of Kake, and AEYC-SEA. Baby Raven Reads improves early literacy skills by translating cultural strengths into home literacy practices. Baby Raven Reads provides family literacy events, training for care providers, and professional development for early childhood educators. A study by McKinley Research Group reveals that Native children who participated in the BRR program made 20-39 percent gains in phonetic knowledge, awareness of print concepts, and knowledge of letters and symbols, while scores for all other students have remained relatively static. The program was also known to increase parental and family engagement in student learning.

Literacy Events
Family literacy events occur 9 times a year in selected communities. Storytelling, songs, and other literacy activities are available to Alaska Native families with children up to age 5. Through playful and culturally relevant activities with parents, children are provided opportunities to practice and develop skills such as oral language, phonological awareness, print awareness, and letter knowledge.
Baby Raven Books
Baby Raven Reads publications are a collection based on the cultural themes of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. The illustrations in the Baby Raven Reads series reflect the importance of family, subsistence, and our land. From baby board books to early readers and read a-louds, babies to adults can find joy in reading together. Families enrolled in Baby Raven Reads will receive Baby Raven Reads books with literacy activities to do at home. Books are also available through the Sealaska Heritage Store.
Audio Resources
SHI's Language Podcast includes the following episodes related to the Baby Raven Reads series:
  • Colors in Sm'algyax
  • Colors in Xaad Kíl
  • Colors in Tlingit
  • Baby Raven
  • Baby Eagle
  • Haida Baby Raven
  • Haida Baby Eagle
Tlingit audio for the Baby Raven Reads book Shanyaak'utlaax - Salmon Boy is available here.
Awards
Baby Raven Reads was recognized in 2017 by the Library of Congress, which gave SHI a 2017 Best Practice Honoree award (watch a video short of former Education Director Jackie Kookesh accepting the award). In February 2018, the American Indian Library Association awarded SHI's book Shanyaak'utlaax: Salmon Boy its American Indian Youth Literature Best Picture Book Award, and in January 2020 it gave Raven Makes the Aleutians a AILA Picture Book Honor award.. in February 2018, SHI’s Baby Raven book How Devil’s Club Came to Be was reviewed by the American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) blog as a recommended title. In January 2020, AICL also recommended Cradle Songs of Southeast Alaska.

Campus Classes

SHI offers instruction on Northwest Coast art at the Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus in Juneau. The program provides beginning, intermediate, and advanced training to individuals interested in learning about these unique and culturally rich art forms. Led by experienced instructors, these classes offer teachings in a wide variety of subjects, including basket weaving, beading, formline design, metal engraving, skin sewing, spruce-root and cedar-bark harvesting, tool making, and wood carving. The classes are part of SHI’s goal to establish a bachelor's degree in Northwest Coast art through its partners, the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) and the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of the classes at the campus may be taken for college credit through UAS, which offers an Associate of Arts (AA) degree with an emphasis on Northwest Coast arts.

Community Classes

SHI offers in-person workshops to people living outside of Juneau in Alaska and the Lower 48. These classes are designed to teach participants about Northwest Coast art's traditional techniques and styles. Through hands-on instruction and guidance from experienced artists and teachers, participants can develop their artistic skills in ancient art practices such as basket weaving, beading, formline design, metal engraving, skin sewing, spruce-root and cedar-bark harvesting, tool making, and wood carving. Community workshops provide a supportive and inclusive learning environment that encourages creativity, collaboration, and cultural exchange.

Online Classes

Online classes are a form of remote learning where students can participate in educational activities from the comfort of their own homes or workspace. These classes are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the art forms and techniques unique to Northwest Coast cultures. Through online instruction and interactive sessions, students can develop their skills and knowledge of this rich and diverse art form and connect with a community of like-minded artists and learners. Overall, online classes provide an accessible way for individuals to pursue their artistic interests and deepen their understanding of the Northwest Coast art traditions.

Walter Soboleff Building

The Nathan Jackson Gallery, located within SHI’s headquarters in downtown Juneau, features a permanent exhibit, “Enter the World of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian Peoples,” which includes a display of highly valued clan treasures. The temporary gallery currently features a show of Alaska Native masks. The building also houses SHI’s collections, which include art objects, books, and archives. The collections provide a basis for continued scholarship through SHI’s research and visiting scholars’ programs.

The Road to ANCSA: Ancient Trade: Unit 6: Grade 6

The Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian peoples of Southeast Alaska traded amongst themselves. They traded with tribes to the south and north. Many of them made long journeys over rugged mountains and rivers. People traded with others that they trusted and liked. The traders would form partnerships that lasted many years. During this time, people would visit with each other’s families. The would learn some of each other’s language. People exchanged goods up to three times a year. They would meet in places or villages that they had agreed on during their last trading trip. Sometimes it was difficult to decide the value of the goods. The value of goods changed often.

The Road to ANCSA: Alaska Native Groups: Unit 3: Grade 6

The Native peoples of Southeast Alaska migrated to their present-day homelands via a variety of routes. This included overland and coastal routes. The areas settled by the Tlingits became their kwáans. The inland Tlingit are found in the Yukon Territory of Canada. The Haida and Tsimshian both arrived in Southeast Alaska long after the initial arrival of the Tlingit. The Haida migrated to the southern areas of Prince of Wales Island and the Tsimshian to Annette Island, near Ketchikan.

Types of Fish: Unit 16

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

Types of Insects: Unit 15

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

Types of Plants: Unit 14

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

The Land: Unit 13

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

Water Forms: Unit 12

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

Types of Transportation: Unit 11

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

Buildings: Unit 10

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

Recreation: Unit 9

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

Types of Clothing: Unit 8

These units are designed to instill language into long term memory. The Process use meaningful language content from the environment, academic programs, stories, and themes to enlarge the students' language bases. The Process takes the students through developmental steps that reflect the natural acquisition of language in the home and community.

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