Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: May 10th, 2022

Collection includes interviews with Native people dating back 37 years

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has digitized and posted online a treasure trove of radio recordings that includes interviews with Native people across Southeast Alaska that date back nearly four decades.

The collection includes hundreds of recordings made for the award-winning public radio program Southeast Native Radio, which was broadcast by KTOO in Juneau from 1985 to 2001. The recordings document Native history and action taken by Native Elders, leaders and other people, and the hosts asked hard-hitting questions that brought out the vital issues of the day.

“The collection is remarkable, as it offers so many interviews with people on topics of importance to Native people and the public at large. The recordings have research value but also sentimental value, as many of the people featured have since passed away,” said SHI President Rosita Worl.

The collection includes many gems and spans a wide range of topics, including, to name a few:

  • An interview with Native civil rights leader Roy Peratrovich a year before he died;
  • Separate interviews with Dr. Walter Soboleff and Nora Dauenhauer on Tlingit oratory;
  • An interview with master weaver Selena Petratrovich on Haida basket weaving;
  • An interview with Haida elder Woody Morrison on his traditional Haida upbringing;
  • An interview with Native leader Jon Borbridge on the early days of the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act;
  • Interviews with executives from Native corporations and Native organizations, including the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood;
  • Interviews on the history of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament;
  • A discussion on the battle of Sitka in 1804 with Andy Hope and Dick and Nora Dauenhauer;
  • An interview with Haida elder Esther Nix on her belief in traditional food and medicine; and,
  • An interview with Louise Barton Dangeli on her life as a Tsimshian woman

This project was supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections or Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Browse the Collection

To browse the collection, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to the light blue box. Click on the down arrows to reveal the contents of each section and click on an item. In the grey box at the top of each page, click on the link under “related media” to listen to recordings. 

About Southeast Native Radio

Southeast Native Radio (SNR) was a radio program operated by KTOO FM radio from Juneau, Alaska, from 1985 to 2001. During the early 1980s, the idea of SNR was conceived by Arlene Dangeli, who realized few outlets existed for Alaska Natives to learn about their heritage. As a result, she set about creating a program that would address cultural issues and help all Native Alaskans take pride in their heritage. Dangeli garnished the support of KTOO to begin the program, organized a staff interested in Alaska Native issues and began broadcasting. SNR ran as hour-long segments which generally aired in the evenings. The producers of SNR would generally interview speakers live in studio or introduce speakers or musicians whose interviews had been prerecorded. SNR covered a wide variety of issues of concern to Alaska Natives from Southeast Alaska, primarily with a focus on Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures. Some of the issues addressed on SNR ranged from subsistence lifestyles, cultural revitalization, land claims and political issues of the day to more light-hearted topics such as performances by Native music groups. Overall, SNR was a strong and public voice for Alaska Native issues from 1985 to 2001.

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,

Captions: Top, part of the Southeast Native Radio Collection. Bottom, ceremony to transfer the collection from KTOO to SHI held in 2010. From left, back row: Kathy Ruddy, Cy Peck Jr., Kim Metcalfe, Mike Dangeli, Arlene Dangeli, Marlene Johnson, Bill Legere and Alice Taff. Front row: Ishmael Hope, Joaqlin Estus and Zachary Jones. Photos courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute. Note: News outlets are welcome to use these photos in association with coverage of this story.


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