Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: November 9th, 2021

Event to mark 40th anniversary of the festival

(Dance Group Application) (Juried Art Show and Competition Application) (Juried Youth Art Exhibit Application) (Native Artist Market Application)

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is accepting applications for dance groups and some of its associated events for Celebration 2022, scheduled June 8-11, which will mark the 40th anniversary of the festival.

SHI’s board of trustees chose the theme Celebrating 10,000 Years of Cultural Survival to commemorate that the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures are here, alive and thriving.

“Our clan leaders and Elders had the foresight to hold the first Celebration in 1982 as a way to show the world that our cultures were still here. Our people had survived pandemics and our cultures persevered through terrible oppression,” said SHI President Rosita Worl.

“We have been here for at least 10,000 years, and now, 40 years since the first festival, we are still here, and we are stronger than ever.”

The Northwest Coast Juried Art Show and Competition is open to Alaska Native and Native American artists who practice Northwest Coast arts. Artists will compete in five divisions: Carving and sculpture; two-dimensional and relief carving; sewing; weaving and endangered art, which includes spruce-root weaving and horn spoon carving.

Artists who win best of category will compete for best of division, and the division winners will compete for best of show. SHI also will award a best of formline prize among all pieces submitted. The exhibit will run from May 1-Dec. 3, 2022, at SHI’s Walter Soboleff Building, and an award ceremony will take place on June 8, the first day of Celebration. The application deadline is Feb. 1.

The Juried Youth Art Exhibit will feature shows for middle school and high school students and monetary awards will go to the winners’ sponsoring schools or organizations. The program is open to all youth in grades 6-12. The exhibit will run from June 3-25, 2022, at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center. The application deadline is March 16.

The Native Artist Market is open to Sealaska shareholders and their descendants and Alaska Natives and Native Americans who are members of an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act corporation or Indian tribe. The market will run from June 9-11 during Celebration. The application deadline is May 16.

The application deadline for dance groups is March 31.

About Celebration

SHI held the first Celebration in 1982 at a time when the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian were in danger of losing knowledge of their ancient songs, dances and stories and the meaning behind the crests depicted on their regalia and clan at.óowu (sacred objects). It was held at the urging of Elders, who worried the cultures were dying after a period of severe oppression, during which time Native people did not sing their songs and dance their dances in public. The first Celebration was meant to underscore the fact the cultures had survived for more than 10,000 years.

The event proved to be so profound, SHI’s board of trustees decided to sponsor Celebration every other year in perpetuity. Celebration sparked a movement that spread across the region and into the Lower 48 — a renaissance of Southeast Alaska Native culture that prompted people largely unfamiliar with their own heritage to learn their ancestral songs and dances and to make regalia for future Celebrations.

Today, Celebration is one of the largest events in Alaska, drawing thousands of people to the four-day festival, including thousands of children. Celebration is also a financial boon for Juneau, according to research. A study by the McDowell Group in 2012 found that the economic impact of Celebration that year was $2 million.

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 Communications and Publications Deputy Director, 907.321.4636,

Caption: Photos by Nobu Koch, courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute. News outlets are welcome to use this photo for coverage on this story. For a higher resolution image, contact

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