This summer, the Alaska Native Heritage Center is hosting some unique artists for a very rare project funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. In the next few months, the creation of four carved house posts as part of the Southeast village site completion, are to be installed on the existing posts inside the house. Traditionally in Southeast Alaska, carved house posts were inside many houses to tell stories of the clan. In recognizing that the Southeast house represents many clans throughout Southeast Alaska, each of the four cultural groups (Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian) will have one post to carve a story that best defines the culture though a central theme. Interns, students, visitors and the general public can witness the entire process of traditional Alaska Native carving that will give each of the four cultural groups equal representation inside the house. Each carved house post will tell its own story through traditional Southeast artistry. Each post will exhibit a different aspect of Respect, the core Alaska Native value this exhibit will express. The separate posts will reflect Respect for the Environment, Respect for the Culture, Respect for Family and Respect for Self as were chosen by each group.
David Boxley, an internationally recognized Northwest Coast Native artist and culture bearer, is coordinating the project as well as carving the Tsimshian house post. Boxley will be working with traditional carvers Israel Shotridge (Carving Eyak and Tlingit house posts), Joe Young, and TJ Young (carving the Haida house post). The project is one that when completed, will provide the full artistic and cultural experience of being in a Tribal House of the Southeast region of Alaska. The Eyak, the Haida, the Tlingit, and the Tsimshian poles are additions to the Tribal House that complete the project and bring it to traditional and cultural authenticity.
All of the work will happen on site at the Center, for the benefit of students, mentors and artists in training, visitors, and all who wish to learn about Alaska Native culture through this traditional art form. Daily presentations at 2:00 will provide more in-depth information for guests and will take place out by the carvers in the village site. A collective celebration of the completion of this project in honor of these distinguished artists will open to the public and will occur on August 13th at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. All are welcome.