Posted By:
Kathy Dye
Kathy Dye
Published On: July 24th, 2023

Free event to be offered in-person, virtually

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a free summer lecture series on the challenges faced by language students learning Lingít (Tlingit), aad Kíl (Haida) and Sm’algyax (Tsimshian).

The series, Strengthening our Community, is part of an effort to offer tools to students to work through issues they might encounter while studying languages.

“We have learned through our ongoing language scholars program for Lingít, aad Kíl and Sm’algyax students that the journey has its challenges. We want to support our students and ease their way, as the work they are doing is so important to revitalizing our ancient languages,” said Dr. Rosita Worl, president of SHI.

All lectures will be held in-person at noon (Alaska time) at the Walter Soboleff Building in Juneau. SHI will also live stream the series on its YouTube and save the talks on its channel immediately after. Viewers are encouraged to pose questions in-person and online.

The three-part series is scheduled as follows:

Wednesday, Aug. 2

  • Marilyn A. Jensen
    Marilyn A. Jensen will do a lecture on the topic of lateral kindness, a subject in which she has conducted research and provided workshops on for the past several years. Yadultin and Dūsts’ā̀dle is Inland Tlingit/Tagish Kwáan from the Carcross/Tagish First Nation. She belongs to the Dakl’aweidí clan under the Tagish Keét Hít (Killerwhale House) in the Southern Yukon Territory. She has taught First Nation Governance at Yukon College and collaborates closely with many Indigenous communities as a consultant focusing on Indigenous self-determination. For the past 20 years, she has taught engaging workshops on government on Indigenous history, land claims and self-government for numerous First Nation governments and organizations.

Wednesday, Aug. 9

  • Lyle James
    As one of the leaders of the Woosh.ji.een Dance Group and his work, along with his wife, Kolene James, with Southeast Alaska Native youth, Lyle James has long been recognized for his efforts in using culture to heal. He has been an inspiration to language learners for many years. He learned Lingít from Florence Sheakley through the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS). James has served as a teacher at UAS and for the past six years worked as a language and cultural specialist at the Goldbelt Heritage Foundation. He says the role of fatherhood in Tlingit culture is shared by men in an extended family.

Wednesday, Aug. 23

  • Doug Modig
    Doug Modig is a Tsimshian Indian of the Eagle clan, born and raised in Ketchikan. His stepfather worked as a fisherman, logger and longshoreman. His mother was an Alaska Native weaver, producing museum quality work. His life growing up has been focused on a subsistence lifestyle. For over 40 years, Modig worked with a number of programs involving Alaska Native communities and traveled to 180 of them. His experience centers on collaborating with Alaska Native communities to improve services, and he helped foster the development of the Alaska Native Sobriety Movement.  Modig helped develop formative strategies on a statewide response to adverse childhood experiences through trauma-informed initiatives.

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,

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