Sealaska Heritage Institute Kicks Off Celebration Next Week

 Lead dance group, Saanya Kwáan. Photo by Brian Wallace.

Lead dance group, Saanya Kwáan. Photo by Brian Wallace.

JUNEAU, ALASKA – Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will kick off its biennial Celebration next week, marking the 32ND year since the inception of the popular dance-and-culture festival.

Celebration is a major event organized by Sealaska Heritage Institute every two years. First held in 1982, it has become the largest cultural event in the state, drawing thousands of people to the capital. It’s a time when Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people come together to celebrate their survival as a culture, said SHI President Rosita Worl, adding it’s also a community event open to the general public.

“Everyone is welcome at Celebration. We hope that non-Native people will attend our event. We want people to come and learn and celebrate our culture,” Worl said.

Along with dance performances, it features associated events, including a Juried Art Show and Competition, Native Artist Market, seaweed and soapberry contests, Toddler Regalia Review, a film screening, lectures, Native language sessions, a children’s storytelling event and parade through downtown Juneau. Events will be held in numerous venues, including Centennial Hall, the Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC), the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall (formerly ANB Hall), Marine Park, Gold Town Nickelodeon Theater and the downtown Juneau library.
The 2014 theme is “Envisioning the future through the reflections of our past”. The institute anticipates up to 7,000 people, including 50 dance groups and more than 2,000 dancers from Alaska, Canada and the lower 48. Celebration 2014 will be led by the Saanya Kwáan (pictured).

Tickets will go on sale 11 am, Wednesday, at Centennial Hall. Four-Day passes are $30 for adults, and $15 for Elders and youth (ages 7-12). One-day tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for Elders and youth (ages 7-12). Children ages 6 and under are admitted at no charge. It will be broadcast live statewide on 360 North and streamed live online.

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

(Schedule) (Venues Map)

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