Native Voices Traveling Exhibition Stops at the Sealaska Heritage Institute

JUNEAU, AK — The Native Voices traveling exhibition has made a mid-summer (and tourist high-season) stop at the Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI), just a few blocks from Alaska’s capitol building in Juneau.

“This exhibition carries an important message that dovetails with our core cultural values exhibit currently in the Walter Soboleff Building across the street,” said SHI President Dr. Rosita Worl, PhD. “It especially resonates with our core value Haa Latseen (our strength), which relates to strength of mind, body, and spirit,” she said.

Worl explained that one of the Native Voices traveling exhibition’s underlying themes, Haa Aaniʻ, which traces Native Americans’ spiritual connection to the land, also is highly consistent with SHI’s core educational values.

The Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding. SHI is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

A visitor, wearing headphones, watches a video from the Native Voices traveling exhibition using one of the iPad kiosks.

A visitor to the Sealaska Heritage Institute experiences the Native Voices traveling exhibition.

The exhibition has struck a chord with SHI staff and visitors alike. The Juneau Capital City Weekly has carried a brief story about the exhibition, and William Louth, an SHI intern, has produced a video about the exhibition’s run at SHI and posted it to the Sealaska Facebook page.

Other SHI staff noted they “liked the quality of the (Native Voices) exhibit’s design.” One host observed the Native Voices traveling exhibition’s content and interface motivated SHI staff to consider “doing an exhibit on traditional healing practices in Southeast Alaska.” Another remarked using iPads for public viewing was “very good,” and the SHI staff noted they hoped to use iPads in some future exhibits.

Regarding the overall importance of the Native Voices traveling exhibition to visitors, the SHI staff prominently quoted Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, the National Library of Medicine’s director emeritus, who recently said, “We hope visitors will find Native Voices both educational and inspirational, and we hope Native People will view it with pride.”

The Native Voices traveling exhibition will be at SHI through September 7.

By Judy Folkenberg

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