Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: June 1st, 2022

Event to be broadcast, streamed live

(Schedule of Events) (Venue Map and Admission Rates) (Flyer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will kick off its biennial Celebration next week, marking the 40th year since the inception of the popular dance-and-culture festival.

Celebration is a major, four-day event organized by Sealaska Heritage every two years. First held in 1982, it has become the one of the largest events in the state, drawing thousands of people and millions of dollars to the capital city.

It’s a time when Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people come together to celebrate their cultural survival and also to share their cultures with the public, said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“We have a lot to celebrate this year. This is the first time we’ve come together in-person for Celebration in four years because of Covid-19, and it’s the 40th anniversary of the event. It will be a joyous reunion and celebration,” said Worl, adding the general public is welcome to attend.

Nearly 1,200 dancers from 28 dance groups will participate this year. Along with dance performances, Celebration features associated events, including a Juried Art Show and Competition, a Juried Youth Art Exhibit, a Northwest Coast Art Market, Native food contests, a Toddler Regalia Review, and a parade through downtown Juneau.

Events will be held in numerous venues, including Centennial Hall, the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, Sealaska Heritage’s Walter Soboleff Building, and the Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus.

Celebration 2022 will feature two lead dance groups, both of Wrangell: Shx’at Kwáan (People Near the Mainland) and Kaasitlaan Dancers. The 2022 theme is Celebrating 10,000 Years of Cultural Survival.

“The theme is fitting in that forty years ago we came together for the first Celebration to celebrate our cultural survival. Here we are now, four decades later, and in the aftermath of a pandemic, and our cultures are thriving,” Worl said.

The Celebration 2022 art was designed by Haida and Tlingit artist Kimberly Fulton Orozco, who won SHI’s first ever Celebration art competition with her piece The Energy That Moves Us, which was inspired by the 2022 theme.

SHI will also hold a grand opening for its Sealaska Heritage Arts Campus, which will include a ceremony for the new Sealaska Cultural Values Totem Pole, a rare and massive piece carved on all sides and the first one of its kind in Alaska. The totem, made by Haida artist TJ Young with assistance from Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian carvers, will represent all three tribes of Southeast Alaska and the four core cultural values that guide SHI programs.

The event will mark a huge milestone in SHI’s quest to make Juneau the Northwest Coast arts capital and to declare Northwest Coast arts a national treasure.

The Juried Art Show will open at 4:30, June 3, for First Friday at SHI’s Walter Soboleff Building. The campus opening is scheduled at noon, Wednesday, June 8, and will be followed at 4 pm by the Juried Art Show and Competition awards ceremony in the clan house at Sealaska Heritage. The Grand Entrance is scheduled for 6 pm at Centennial Hall, and the event runs through Saturday, June 11.

SHI will sponsor a live, statewide broadcast of Celebration on public television’s 360TV over the air, on cable, on the web and the KTOO Roku App. Live coverage will begin with the campus opening on Wednesday. News media outlets are welcome to cover the event. Reporters are required to sign in at the information booth in Centennial Hall and wear a media pass. 


SHI will begin early ticket sales for Celebration and distribute dancer wristbands starting on Monday at the following times and locations:

  • Monday, June 6, 1-4 pm, lobby of Sealaska Heritage (105 S. Seward St.). Credit card payment only.
  • Tuesday, June 7, 1-4 pm, lobby of Sealaska Heritage (105 S. Seward St.). Credit card payment only.
  • Wednesday, June 8, noon-9 pm, Centennial Hall. Cash and credit cards accepted.

Attendees will be required to wear masks and show proof of vaccination for access to all indoor venues. SHI’s Covid mitigation plan, which also includes other measures, is intended to ensure the safety of participants.

Four-day passes are $35 for adults and $15 for Elders and youth (ages 7-12). One-day tickets are $18 for adults, and $10 for Elders and youth (ages 7-12). Children ages 6 and under are admitted at no charge. Dance group schedules will be published in the program, which will be available at the SHI Store beginning Monday, June 6, and at the admissions tables at Centennial Hall and the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Kathy Dye, SHI Media and Publications Deputy Director, 907.321.4636, kathy.dye@sealaska.com.

Caption: Celebration 2022 art “The Energy That Moves Us” by Haida and Tlingit artist Kimberly Fulton Orozco. Note: Media outlets are welcome to use this photo for coverage of this story. For a higher resolution image, contact kathy.dye@sealaska.com.

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