AK) The Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) invites all
to partake in a totem pole dedication ceremony on Saturday, August
23, 2003. The 30-foot totem pole designed by Master Carver Nathan
Jackson will be blessed, following Tlingit tradition, on the ANHC
campus with ceremonies beginning at 10am. This anticipated event
commemorates a new phase for the Alaska Native Heritage Center in
"reopening the box of knowledge" for Alaska's Native people.
Alaska Native Heritage Center is extremely honored to see this project
completed," stated Jon Ross, President/CEO. "The totem pole, created
by Mr. Nathan Jackson, is a monumental addition to the Heritage
Center campus. This project was made possible thanks to the generous
support received from the Kreielsheimer and Kresge Foundations,
the Cape Fox Corporation and Lynden Transport Incorporated. The
pole represents the past, present and future of Alaska Native people.
We are thankful to Paul Marks for his assistance during the planning
of the dedication. His guidance was instrumental in fulfilling Tlingit
protocol requirements. I am proud to invite the community of Anchorage
and Alaska to join us during this memorable occasion. I look forward
to this new phase in which the Center will "reopen the box of knowledge"
not only for Native people, but for all of Alaska."
2002 the Alaska Native Heritage Center commissioned Tlingit Master
Carver Nathan Jackson to design and carve a 30-foot totem pole with
the goal of having the project completed in the traditional fashion.
Jackson's design depicts a man who represents the Alaska Native
Heritage Center opening the box of knowledge to be shared with the
community. At the base of the cedar pole are a boy and girl representing
the children and grandchildren of Alaska Native peoples; the child
figures also represent the Eagle and Raven moieties of the Tlingit
people. Toward the center of the pole is a young man standing over
a bent wood box, he is opening the container of wisdom to share
with the people. The figure at the top of the pole represents an
elder or tradition bearer who instructs and teaches traditional
totem pole blessing and dedication will follow Tlingit protocol
in accordance with directed guidelines from Tlingit tradition bearers.
The ceremony will include steps to ensure correct protocol, specifically
receiving and granting acknowledgement of participating parties.
The pole will be given the ceremonial name, Yaakoosege Daakeit kootee.aa,
(Container of Wisdom) in the traditional Tlingit manner. However
the pole will be known as "The Alaska Native Heritage Center Totem
the Eyak, Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska,
totem poles are used to record family crests, document stories and
legends, and to mark special events. Traditional totem poles signify
great meaning and symbolism. For the educated eye, a totem pole
can tell the story of a great battle, of personal accomplishments
and transformation, or of a beloved or revered ancestor.
renowned carver Nathan Jackson will be in attendance of the Totem
Pole Dedication. Nathan Jackson is a member of the Salmon Clan of
the Chilkoot Tlingit from southeast Alaska, and is of Raven moiety.
Jackson, a Master Carver, is among the best-known and highly regarded
Tlingit artists. Jackson is a known leader in the revival of Tlingit
art items such as totem poles, bentwood boxes, masks and house fronts.
Jackson attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa
Fe, New Mexico studying graphics, fabric design, and silkscreen
making. Since 1967 Jackson has created numerous totem poles, screens,
panels, woodcarvings, and jewelry. Jackson has also taught at numerous
institutions, including the Alaska State Museum, Sheldon Jackson
College, the Totem Heritage Center and the University of Alaska.
Jackson's artwork is on display in every major museum in the State
of Alaska. His work can also be found in museums and private collections
throughout North America and in museums throughout Europe and Japan.
Alaska Native leaders and artists will be in attendance of the ANHC
Totem Pole Dedication ceremony. Serving as Naakaanee or Master of
Ceremonies for the Totem Pole Dedication are: Paul Jackson of Sitka,
Naakaanee, Raven Moiety for Eagle Clan; Richard Jackson of Juneau,
Naakaanee, Eagle Moiety for Raven Clan; David Katzeek of Juneau,
Naakaanee, Eagle Moiety for Raven Clan-accompanying Thunderbird
Chilkat Blanket and Eagle Hat. Also attending is Raymond Dennis
of Haines accompanying Chilkat Blanket and Tunic, Raven Hat &
Klukwan Killer Whale Headdress.
at the Totem Dedication are: Tlingit & Haida Dancers of Anchorage,
Naa Luudisk Gwaii Yaxt'i, Dena' Ina Dancers, and the Alaska Native
Heritage Center Dance group.
Tlingit and Haida Dancers of Anchorage have been dancing since 1986.
This Anchorage based group was formed to pass along the traditional
dances of Southeast Alaska. Songs are considered clan property and
those who sing and dance these songs must obtain permission.
Luudisk Gwaii Yaxt'i meaning "Children of The Islands who learn"
is an Anchorage based group comprised of Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian
heritage. Their name is comprised of languages for several Northwest
Dena'ina Dancers are an Athabascan dance group based in Anchorage.
Formed in 1991 by James Wilson, Athabascan, this family group is
from the village of Nondalton.
Alaska Native Heritage Center Dance Group is comprised of young
Native adults trained at the Center, who work to encourage other
youth to participate in Native Cultures. The ANHC High School Dance
Group began in the fall of 2001 as part of ANHC's After-School Program
for Alaska Native high school students. Members of the dance program
include extremely dedicated and enthusiastic Alaska Native high
school students comprising many of Alaska's Native cultures.
of the sacred nature of the event, attendees to the ceremony may
be asked to refrain from videotaping, audio recording or shooting
photos during some parts of the ceremony.
Alaska Native Heritage Center is an independent, nonprofit that
is open year-round as a gathering place to celebrate, perpetuate
and share Alaska Native cultures; it is a place for all people.
It is located at 8800 Heritage Center Drive in northeast Anchorage,
just off Muldoon Road North near Bartlett High School. For more
information about other events and programs, visit www.alaskanative.net
the songs and stories passed down through generations. See the dancers
move to the echo of an ancient drum. Touch the work of Native artisans
carrying on tradition. Walk the path of yesterday while touring
five authentic village sites.
Sage M. Yardley
Public Relations Specialist
Alaska Native Heritage Center