NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on the power of Native names

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture on the power of Native names

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

Talk part of Native American Heritage Month

November 19, 2018

(Lecturer Biography) (Flyer)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) this week will sponsor a lecture on the power and cultural practice of carrying names, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month.

In her lecture, The Names We Carry, Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes will tell of how the Alaska Native practice of naming has impacted her work, her life and the work and lives of others. She’ll also discuss efforts to restore original names to significant places in Alaska and elsewhere.

“I’ll examine the ways in which social names perpetuate cultural values and offer examples from my writing that illustrate the substance of the names we carry and the power of the names that carry us,” Hayes wrote.

The lecture is scheduled at noon on Tuesday, Nov. 20, in the Living History Room at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau. The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome.


Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes belongs to the Gooch Hít of the Kaagwaantann clan and is best known as the author of the American Book Award recipient Blonde Indian, an Alaska Native Memoir, which also received an Honoring Alaska Indigenous Literature Award and was a finalist for the Kiriyama Prize and PEN Nonfiction Award. Grandmother of four and great-grandmother of three, Hayes is a professor at the University of Alaska Southeast. Her latest book, The Tao of Raven, places fiction and nonfiction narratives in the context of Raven and the Box of Daylight and Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

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, 907.586.9116,

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