Collection documents Tlingit ceremonies, ANB/ANS and other activities
May 5, 2020
A longtime Tlingit photojournalist has donated a large collection of historical photographs to Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) that documents Tlingit ceremonies, activities of the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and Sisterhood (ANS) and Russian Orthodox services.
The collection, donated by Brian Wallace of Juneau, includes more than 430 images that span from the 1940s to the early 2000s taken by him and his late parents, Amos and Dorothy Wallace.
“Many of the photos my parents took were snapshots, but they have important historical content,” Wallace said. “I feel fortunate to donate the collection to SHI because I know it will be preserved in a climate-controlled facility and shared, rather than hidden away in boxes.”
The collection also contains photos of his father’s art career, which spanned more than 60 years. Amos Wallace was one of a few Native artists making Tlingit art in the mid-20th century, and he is credited for helping to keep the art form alive.
SHI President Rosita Worl said Wallace has given important collections to the institute in the past and called this most recent donation “extraordinary.”
“The collection includes rare photos documenting sacred ceremonies such as our ku.éex’, sometimes known as potlatches. Brian also donated photos of ANB and ANS leaders paving the way for our people—volunteering their time to work on critical issues important to the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian,” Worl said.
The collection will be available to the public through SHI’s William L. Paul Sr. Archives. Staff plans to eventually upload all of the images to its new catalog database, through which people will be able to view the collection online. Wallace said he will continue working on the project, scanning negative film and slides, which will add about 500 additional photos to the collection.
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: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, email@example.com; 907.586.9116
Captions, from top: A ku.éex’ or sacred ceremony; Clockwise from left: Rosita Worl, Dorothy Wallace, Stella Martin, Jim Austin, Bob Loescher and Amos Wallace; ANS Grand President Emeritus Bessie Visaya, ANS Grand President Carol Jorgensen and Ethel Lund. For high resolution images, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.