Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: October 25th, 2021

Free event to be offered in-person, virtually


Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a lecture series on Southeast Alaska Native history in November in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

All lectures will be live streamed on SHI’s YouTube channel at noon Alaska time. Some of the talks will also be available in-person to attendees who show proof of vaccination cards. Space is limited to half capacity of SHI’s clan house because of COVID-19 concerns.

Tuesday, Nov. 2

  • Lecture: Tlingit Society and the Crucible of Contact, 1741-1867 by Stephen Langdon, Ph.D., professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Alaska Anchorage where he taught for 38 years. Langdon will examine a time in the 18th century, when Tlingit people began interactions with Europeans and Americans from distant lands with whom they had no previous contact or knowledge.  These contacts brought new materials and technologies, deadly diseases and threats to the hegemony of Tlingit control of the region. (In-person and online)

Thursday, Nov. 4

  • Lecture: Southeast Alaska Native Education History by Mischa Plunkett Jackson (Chookangee Tláa), an assistant professor of secondary education at the University of Alaska Southeast. This presentation will take participants through history, starting at contact, to provide a backdrop and contextual understanding of different events that have shaped the educational systems in place for Alaska Natives. These events and policies have had a lasting impact on Southeast Alaska Native families and communities throughout history and today. Events from Southeast Alaska will highlight the active role that Alaska Natives have taken in attempts to push for educational reform and opportunities for future generations. (In-person and online)

Monday, Nov. 8

  • Lecture: The Russian-Tlingit Conflict of 1802-1804: Origins, Course, Results by Alexander Zorin, chief curator of collections at the Kursk State Regional Museum of Archaeology. Zorin, who was born in Russian and has done scholarly work on the Tlingit-Russian battles of 1902 and 1804 in Sitka, will argue that those events had crucial importance for the history of the Russian colonies in North America. The Russian pioneers had to face the resolute resistance of the warlike and well-armed Tlingit Indians, who stubbornly defended their trade and commercial interests. Note: This lecture will be given in Russian and translated by Valiantsina Gouk. (Online only)

Wednesday, Nov. 10

  • Lecture: A Traditional Literary History of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood: Writing Alaska Native Solidarity into American Modernity by Michael P. Taylor, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and associate director of American Indian Studies, Brigham Young University. Taylor, who has studied the formation of the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) and Sisterhood (ANS), will turn to the ANB’s monthly newspaper, The Alaska Fisherman (1923–1932), to demonstrate how the ANB/ANS navigated the challenging sociopolitical realities brought on by increased U.S.-settler expansion by adapting longstanding Alaska Native literary traditions. (Online only)

Tuesday, Nov. 16

  • Lecture: In His Own Words, a biography of William Lewis Paul by Benjamin Starr Paul (Ku-nuX-nuhsti), who is Tlingit, Teeyhíttaan, of the Raven clan and grandson of William Lewis Paul (Shquindy), also known as the father of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Paul will trace the life of William Lewis Paul Sr. from his early childhood with his mother, Tillie Paul, at Sheldon Jackson school, to his death in Seattle on March 4, 1977. Using the speech William Lewis Paul Sr. gave at his honorary doctorate ceremony at Whitworth University, 1972, (audio will be played) as a guide, Ben will give special attention to spiritual and religious life of his grandfather. (In-person and online)

Friday, Nov. 19

  • Lecture: Fighter in Velvet Gloves: Alaska Civil Rights Hero Elizabeth Peratrovich by Ann Boochever. Born and raised in Juneau, Boochever will offer personal insights into life in Juneau during the 1950s and discuss how she came to write Fighter in Velvet Gloves with the help of Elizabeth’s only living child, now 87-year-old Roy Peratrovich Jr. Historical slides from the Alaska State Archives and the Peratrovich family will accompany the presentation providing a rare glimpse into the personal life of Elizabeth and how she grew to lead Alaska and all of America in the battle for civil rights. (In-person and online)

Monday, Nov. 22

  • Lecture: Retelling American Literature through Raven’s Song by Sarah Rivett, Ph.D., professor of English and American Studies at Princeton University and author of The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England (2011) and Unscripted America: Indigenous Languages and the Origins of a Literary Nation (2017). Rivett will talk about Ravens in American literary history, and unsettle European labels for the Raven with a case study of a Tlingit box from the 1880s from Yakutat, Alaska, now housed in the Princeton University Art Museum. (In-person and online)

Tuesday, Nov. 23

  • Lecture: “What’s in a Name?” The “Indian Girl” from Ft. Wrangell Who Met Harriet Tubman by Phillip Hesser, Ph.D., who has taught in the United States and Africa and served with the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Academy for Educational Development. Hesser will tell about his quest to find Ft. Wrangell Alaska Native Shik-Sha-Ni, who toured the country and met Harriet Tubman in the late 1880s in New York. (In-person and online)

Wednesday, Nov. 24

  • Lecture: Infectious Diseases, Settler Colonialism, and Race on Sheet’ka Ḵwáan by Adam Kersch, M.A. doctoral candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Davis. Kersch, a white Jewish settler whose family formerly lived in Romania, Serbia, and Britain, will examine transformations in the relationship between race, health, and colonialism in Sheet’ká (Sitka, Alaska), focusing on infectious disease outbreaks over the past 200 years. (Online only)

Tuesday, Nov. 30

  • Lecture: ANCSA Corporations as “Indian tribes” Under Federal Indian Law and the Constitution by Chris McNeil (Shaakakóoni), the owner of Native Strategy Group and former president and CEO of Sealaska. McNeil, who is Eagle of the Daḵl’aweidí (Killerwhale) House, will talk about a case brought by the Chehalis and other tribes that challenged the status of Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) corporations as an “Indian tribe” under the CARES Act. (Online only)

This program is provided under the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program and funded by the Alaska Native Education Program.

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,

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