NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on the first cannery in Alaska

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on the first cannery in Alaska

Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: December 22nd, 2020

Talk to delve into how the Klawock Tlingit kept control of their salmon resources

November 1, 2018

(Lecturer Biographies) (Flyer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a free lecture next week on the first cannery in Alaska and how the Tlingit people of Klawock maintained control of their salmon resources when the canneries were first established in the state.

The lecture, LAWÁAK (Klawock): The First Cannery in Alaska and the Path Not Taken  by Steve Langdon, Ph.D, will delve into how the Ganaax.ádi clan leader Teigahéit’ asserted his ownership and control of the Klawock River and established that principle as the foundation of the relationship that allowed the emergence of commercial salmon canning.

“In histories of Alaska and its commercial salmon industry, a short statement typically appears as follows:  ‘The first salmon cannery in Alaska opened in 1878 at Klawock.’  There is never a second sentence about Klawock not even one that stipulates that this occurred in a Tlingit community let alone that the Tlingit residents have a deep and rich heritage of association with the salmon of that place,” wrote Langdon, professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Anthropology.

“My presentation will describe the Klawock Tlingit technical, social and spiritual relationship with salmon and the events at Klawock at the beginnings of the commercial salmon period.”

The lecture is part of SHI’s events in recognition of Native American Heritage Month. It is scheduled at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 6, in the Living History Room at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau. The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome.  


Over his 45 year career, Dr. Langdon has conducted research projects on many public policy issues impacting Alaska Natives. He has advocated for policies that enhance and promote rural Alaska Native communities and their cultures in such areas as fisheries, lands, tribal government, cultural heritage, customary trade and co-management. 

Dr. Langdon has specialized in research on the history and culture of the Tlingit and Haida peoples of Southeast Alaska from precontact conditions through the historic period of 19th and early 20th century US governance. He has conducted extensive research on traditional ecological knowledge and uses of salmon by the Tlingit and Haida demonstrating the complex and rich relations between the people and salmon that sustained their cultures for centuries.

His book, The Native People of Alaska, is a widely used introduction to Alaska Native people.

Sealaska Heritage is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research and advocacy 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 and a Native Artists Committee. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

CONTACT: Amy Fletcher, SHI Media and Publications Director, 907.586.9116,



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