Lineage: Tlingit Artists Across Generations

[singing] – [Paul] When we dance. It does something
to our spirit. It makes us feel good. And to wear our ancestral at.óow
brings us strength and pride in our people, of our ancestors. – [Nora] My mom and my dad made them.
And they’re beautiful. [singing continues] – [Clarissa] This is a spiritual practice
for women. When you raise up the spiritual practice of a woman, you raise up the
level of harmonious existence. – [Jerrod] Working on this canoe by making
artwork, and studying that, and diving into that, and actively
engaging it has become the best way to feel some ownership towards it,
and I guess belonging to it. [chanting continues] ♪ [music] ♪ Ch’a ldakat at
ayakghwaheiyagu khudzitee. – [Ishmael] There is a spirit in
everything, our elders say, as I was taught by the late Elder Cyril George,
Khaalkhaawu of the Khak’weidi clan. “The spirit, the consciousness in all
things is in the land, in the waterways, and in our Tlingit art. We inherited this
knowledge from our ancestors and their gifts, their wisdom, and spirit always
nourish us. For countless generations, our people have refined a special kind of
art, an art of captivating, deeply intimate, yet magisterial carvings,
weavings, beadwork, and paintings which represent sacred
ancestral crests, and histories of our clans. This tradition was maintained by
masters who passed on their skills to apprentices who assisted and studied for
many years until the day they could become masters themselves. While our people have
gone through many changes, that lineage of master and learner
continues to this day. Let’s spend some time with a few of the families and
artistic lineages whose works are present and of today, yet they’d make their
ancestors proud and their stories speak to the future.” [singing] The art tradition was largely
created for the Khu.éex’, the potlatch, beautiful events of songs,
dancing, great feasting, and gift giving. At turns, deeply solemn and hugely joyful.
They would make at.óow, literally translated as an “owned or
purchased thing.” They would feast and share their wealth with their clan
opposites, so they’d have the privilege to bring out their at.óow, their
sacred objects. Here’s my uncle, Paul Marks, Khinkaduneek of the
L’uknaxh.ádi clan. Though he’s not related to me, because he teaches me
so much, I call him my uncle. – “For a Khu.éex’, it could be
for a house dedication, totem pole raising, a xh’een (house screen),
maybe even for a head dress or a hat, depending on what and how important
they want to make. – Jennie Thlunaut, Shaax’saani Keek’
of the clan was known as the last master weaver of the Naaxein,
the Chilkat blanket, an immensely valued and incredibly intricate art form that
comes alive at the Khu.éex’ when it is shown and vibrantly danced in.
Jennie also showed young weavers how to respectfully share their arts with the
wider world, even as they continued to create robes for the community. Shortly
before her passing in the 1980s, she taught an important workshop
for young Tlingit women. Clarissa Rizal Daalsak’u Tláa
of the T’akhdeintaan clan was one of her students,
and she went on to apprentice for six weeks with the master. Clarissa
became a well-known weaver herself, taking on many students, including her
daughter Lily Hope, Wooshkhindeinda.aat. Lily is now weaving a commissioned robe
for the Portland Art Museum. She is also my wife and we’re raising
four children together. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Clarissa] But it took me 30 years of
weaving before I one day it just happened. I was working on the robe and I realized
that everything was easy. Oh yeah, yep, I didn’t have to figure it
out, like oh, how do I do that? Do I connect this? There was none of that.There
was just like oh yeah, (makes other sounds). There was no guessing, no
estimating, no real thought about, or thinking. It was a knowing.
I would have the claws so it takes up about this much
of it at least. – Right. Wait. This much? – About this much. – How many is that in your hand?
Count it. Two, four, six. – I don’t know. – See, that is a filler. That’s a filler
so you want to make sure that the claws are prominent, right? – [Lily] Working on this robe for the
museum, how many times can I dance it before it goes to where it needs to live,
you know? And maybe having a send off in Juneau. You know, weaving it in public
is one thing, but bringing it out in public is another thing. ♪ [music] ♪ – Hi. How’s it going? – Happy. – Good. – I can’t wait to see your weaving. – Hi. – Weaving. – Hi, you guys. – Yeah, mommy’s going to weave. – Oh my goodness. All of you guys
are here? Well… – So what you want to do is this is the
Jennie turn, right? So if this is the one you want it to spiral around, you’re going
to take the weaver who’s way over there, and take him to the back. But then he’s
going to spiral all the way, he’s going to come all the way around the
warp end. So that guy who would’ve continued that direction came all the way
around. And then he’s also going to be the one who drops in. So you can see that it’s
going to continue the spiral that way if we do that. – [Lane] Oh, okay. – Right? So then that one goes up. – Like it’s braiding still, but then it
drops down. – Right, but then it drops down. Because
then once you turn that corner, that is going to be one tight little
corner. – Currently, I am working on Chilkat
leggings. This will be one of two. I still have to spin the warp for the
other side of it. What was going to go into here is a frog design. And at the
bottom of it will be a nagoon berry And so this is kind of a study
piece in that, you know, my dream is to weave a full sized robe at
some point. And in the meantime, I hope to kind of capture that image in
smaller pieces until I get to the point where I feel comfortable weaving. – [Irene] My real passion in the culture
is music, Tlingit songs. Well, without a drum, I’ll sing it while
I’m weaving. It goes… [singing] – If this is a straight line down,
you want to tie the two of them, tie the two together so that you don’t
even have to look at it. Like when you try to separate them, you’ll
go, “Oh no, my braids ride right here.” [singing] – Our art and regalia come alive at the
Khu.éex’. It is like the ancestors join with us. One of my
ancestors, my great-aunt Ellen Hope Hays, respected Elder of the Kiks.ádi
clan of Sitka, talked about how our clan used to gather
in commemoration of the battle with the Russians, and to reaffirm their land and
history. She talked about the great love and joy the people had when they
gathered, shared food, and danced. She longed for that gathering to happen
again. So I worked with my relatives in our clan house to renew this
commemoration. [singing continues] ♪ [music] ♪ – [Teri] It’s good to see you.
Oh my gosh, it’s been years. – Yeah, yeah. – Well usually at some event, right? – In a Sitka, I visited with master weaver
Teri Rofkar, weaver of the Yéil Koowú the Raven’s Tail blanket style, and
of spruce root basketry. – Chas’ Koowu Tláa is my Tlingit name and
that I am a Raven, T’akhdeintaan, and it’s Taxh’ Hit, so I am from the Snail
House. So the wool weaving is what I’m known for but I actually do the basketry
as well. These are some spruce root baskets. I’m working on a rattle top right
now. I wanted to add some of the vintage roots in the new roots because in the
museums, all you see are these dark roots because the tannins have discolored them
with age. But this technique of the weaving, the two strand and three strand
twining, it’s identical to the wool weaving that we do with the robes. – Really? – Yep, mm-hm. – I didn’t know that. – So when I weave, I’m actually starting
on the left-hand side, and I’m twining all the way across. And
where these look like they’ve been sort of embroidered because they have a lift to
them, it’s actually that three strand technique that we use at the edge of a
basket. So one of the things that I found out in my travels, I had to show you these
because this one is my alpha. My gosh, when did I make it?
Maybe ’91, ’92. – So your first one? – Yeah, this is my first robe, yeah. It’s
the Red Tide Robe, has cockle shell designs and red at random because it’s
about paralytic shellfish poisoning. And I used a design that’s affiliated with
Aleutic baskets because it was those Aleuts that died just north of town from
paralytic shellfish poisoning. So I wanted to recognize those. I know
when as a kid, we were never allowed to eat mussels. I don’t know about you guys,
but we weren’t allowed to. – We had to be real careful. – Yeah, no mussels. And grandma said it
was because of that poisoning. So there’s kind of even some in the waves
as they lap up against the beach here on the side border. But again, woven like a
big basket. There’s no tension on the warps. It just hangs loose, and I twine it
across. If it was a basket, I’d just continually weave. But because
it’s flat, I have to tie a knot on this side and then start on the next side. So
this doesn’t go back and forth like Chilkat weaving. So it’s quite different
that way. But because of that, they would be defined as baskets in wool,
and they hold people. [singing] – I’m not talking bad about Jerrod at all. – If I had anything bad to say… – Jerrod and Nick Galanin, Lkheinaa and
Yéil Yatseen of the L’uknaxh.adi clan, are brothers who are distinguished
in several art forms. They come from a family of
many artists, including their great-grandfather, George
Benson Lkheinaa of the L’uknaxh.adi, a lead carver for the Civilian
Conservation Corps, who carved many fine totem poles in the 1930s, which still
stand in the Sitka National Historical Park. ♪ [music] ♪ – My great-grandfather George
Benson designed the canoe at the Centennial building in I believe 1967-68
is when that canoe was created. – Wow. – Yeah, so that was about 50 years ago.
Twenty years ago, my uncle Will Burkhart did the last one
that was made here, actually made here on the premises back there. And now here I
am, the third canoe to come out of Sitka I’m a part of. It’s an honor, it’s definitely
an honor, you know? – [Nick] To be on board with a project
like this and to have the connections that the canoe is culturally to us, connected
to the land, and the waterways, you know, Jerrod and I are always out
subsisting. And this is just one more facet into that. – Nick, by the way, is a musician whose
songs you can hear throughout this film. ♪ [music] ♪ – I like the… ♪ [music] ♪ – Ricky Tagaban L’eiw Yéil,
belongs to the lineage of Chilkat weavers. Like Lily, he was taught by Clarissa
Rizal. He was commission by Mary Folletti, Daaljíni, of the Kaagwaantaan clan to
make a robe for Mary’s young daughter, Enza. – [Ricky] Usually my work is more
distributive, so it’s a little bit more abstract. But this is figurative, so I
really wanted to do their house crest justice. And I started this three years
ago and I would go months where I was too scared to even look at it. And Lily’s been
the most influential person for me to finish. Twice in the past month I would
say, “I have no idea what to do.” And she’d get markers and just draw something.
She’d say, “Try this.” And yeah, and it was what I wanted but I didn’t know
I wanted. And she would just lay it out and then it worked better than I could
have imagined. – He was saying, “Gee Lily, don’t you feel
kind of weird about your piece going into a museum?” Because the one he was
finishing was going to have such a long life because it’s small enough for the
child to wear now as a baby robe, and it’s big enough for her mom to wear as
an apron, or for the girl to wear as an apron as she grows. And he didn’t quite ask it exactly
like that, but it was enough. He brought it up in relationship to a
tourist who asked, you know, “What do you do with these things?
Do you throw them on your bed, or what do you do?” And we said, “Well we
like to make them for ceremony.” And him bringing that up that the piece he was
making or finishing up was going to this cultural experience. I was like, “I’m
going to have to talk to this robe a lot about you’re a learning tool. You’re going
to be studied by weavers, and scholars, and art historians, and you
know, interested persons. And you’ll come out into the light and
breathe a lot, and you know, be part of this lineage and for weaver
teachers, and our recorded history, and all this.” And that’s helped a lot in
not being so sad about where this one is going. – Yeah. – Since I was little, I’ve known and
cherished poet, scholar, and culture bearer, Nora Marks Dauenhauer
Kheixwnéi and her late husband, Richard, who is also an extraordinary poet
and scholar. I, and countless others, have learned an immense amount from them.
I’m learning the culture, and I write poetry. So her guidance has a
huge impact on me. Nora’s also Paul’s sister. They come from a family of artists
including their parents, master carver Willie Marks Kéet
Yaanaayí, and master bead worker Emma Marks Seigheighei. I had a chance
to visit with Nora at her house on Marks Trail in Douglas, and she shared her
thoughts on Tlingit art and culture, and brought out many of her family’s
beautiful treasures. – Wow. – My brother Alex made the pattern. [Speaking Tlingit] Sockeye, [Speaking Tlingit] [Speaking Tlingit] – She’s saying that her mom, Emma Marks,
did the beadwork for this. I asked Nora to share a profound
speech she transcribed and translated with Richard, a speech for
the removal of grief by Jessie Dalton, Naa Tláa of the T’akhdeintaan clan in
Hoonah. Naa Tláa’s speech deeply affected Nora and Richard. And her words continue
to nourish people around the world through the Dauenhauers’ book,Haa Tuwanáagu Yís,
for Healing Our Spirit, Tlingit Oratory.
As Nora said one time at a gathering of
Native people when talking about Dalton’s beautiful speech, “This is why we do our
carving, why we do our bead work.” [singing] – So, Khu.éex’s have a lot to do
with, I believe, it’s the thing that still holds us together. It’s something that’s
important to us, but I think if we get the true significance about a
Khu.éex’ to each and every one of us, we’d all be much different
with each other. – Two weeks before the Sitka party, I
asked distinguished jeweler and carver, Donald Gregory Héendei of the Deisheeetaan
to teach me and my friend Mike Hoyt to make the tinaa, copper shields, which were
and continue to be immensely valued all over the Northwest coast. – Hey, how’s it going? – [Donald] Good. – All right, yeah. I got two of them. – You brought the most important part.
So you’re on your way to becoming a tinaa maker? – Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping. – All you’re doing the first time, you’re
using it just like a pencil like you’re drawing, and so you just cut the line a
little deeper and a little deeper until it’s nice and deep. And you’re just going
straight down because you’re going to V cut both sides. You’re going to go from
one side, then you turn around and go the other side. And I’m going
all the way to the end so that the end of the tool can hang out. And I’ll do the
same thing on this end just to make sure. – We started by making a small copper
necklace, which is a modern innovation, before going into crafting a traditional,
thicker and larger tinaa. ♪ [music] ♪ – So then you can adjust it if you want to
wear it as a choker or you can wear it as a full sized necklace. And then the last
thing you do for me is just like… – My very first, very first one
when I first started. And what’s today? Oh yeah, 9/14. ♪ [music] ♪ – Yeah. [chuckles] – Okay. At least it’s cutting. – I’m sure there’s a saw that you can use
that works a lot better, but I haven’t found it yet.
Let’s just use nippers. ♪ [music] ♪ – And just in case I die sometime soon,
hi mom, I love you. [laughter] ♪ [music] ♪ – But often it has been said that, you
know, amongst us, weavers of today, that the warp hanging down, you know, it’s
kind of a spiritual veil between worlds. That as we are weaving, we are weaving the
energy between there and here. And maybe that’s why Jennie…there are two
things she stressed. Prayer, always pray before you get on your
weaving, before you weave for the day. And pray in the sense of you give thanks
for what you’ve got. You’re not asking for what you don’t have.
“Oh, how come I don’t have this? I want this. I want that. Please God, if I
do 10 Hail Marys, you know, will I have it when I want it, how I want
it, with who I want it with?” You know, that’s not what it was. She
said, “You give thanks for what you’ve got. You give thanks for the fact that
this weaving has come to you, that you have the capabilities of taking
these materials and fashioning it into a second skin, that you have someone who’s
taken the time to teach you, that you have what you have, all of what
you have in your life. You give thanks for what you’ve got.” – And I always do that, but I always add,
“And I’m thankful my husband has flexible hours, and I’m thankful my kids are happy
at home, and we have nannies, and our house is taken care of. And that
my mother is town, and whatever else is good.” I always do that. And when I don’t
do that, oh, I screw up. Oh, I screw up. – It’s true. I think that the Weavers
Across the Water, you know, weaving that one, I’ve done alone in the
sense of I’m alone. And it was the first time that I was a part of a robe,
you know, mainly put together, that I actually had a ceremony. I actually
got to go through the ceremony of honoring somebody and putting it on them. And it
was a public thing. I’ve never done that before. And that was the 11th robe, okay?
Every time I’ve taken a robe off the loom, and the very first time, it was
devastating. It’s equivalent to the feeling when your child leaves home. – So I’m nervous and excited about
thinking about the party because then I have to get the robe done. And then I feel
like we have a good, you know, as a really good motivation.
But the way Clarissa’s talking about how emotional it is to take it off the loom,
I think it’d be kind of fun. She said she’s never cut one off the loom
in the presence of people. – Never, never, not once. – So that would be kind of
interesting to me. – Oh yeah, that could be part of the
ceremony. – That’s right, that’s part of the
ceremony. That’s exactly part of the ceremony. – Yup. – Lituya Bay – Yes, how difficult it was to weave this
one and to do it honor, because it’s such a powerful place. – Yeah, I’ve never been but I’ve… – I want to go myself, yeah. – It comes up a lot in…
– It does. – …the stories, the history.
With the first encounter with the Europeans, can you tell us a little bit of
what you know about that? – Well, I do know that, and in fact I’ve
got the Europeans coming in in there. Again, it’s very much a basket. So if you
had it on, we could see where the ships are coming in and then they go out again,
but, La Perouse was in there. ♪ [music] ♪ – It was like 1786. So just a couple years
before the Russians came in and took all the robes to St. Petersburg. But he was in
there and when they were trying to get in, they were coming across the water. And of
course, you know, they could see these mountains far off in the distance. And
there was a little anxiousness to the sailors on board. This meant fresh meat.
This meant they could get off the boat. They were going to get some good water. So
they saw the mountains from like 30 leagues out. And they sailed, but they
could find no harbor. They sailed for like three days back and forth in front of that
big edge where there were glaciers and mountains, but they found no harbor. They
finally spotted Lituya but it was so tiny, that entrance. So they kept going back and
forth. And they finally skirted inside and made harbor, and stayed there quite a
while. But from the Native perspective, they could see the white raven flying off
in the distance. For days he flew out on the ocean. And finally the white raven,
he flew right into the Lituya Bay. And they could see the people, but they
didn’t know if it was people or not. They used…I think somewhere in the file
I have some [Tlingit] stalks because they didn’t want to be bewitched
by this white raven that flew in. And it stayed there. One old man had
presented himself and they did some trading. I think that’s where it comes in where
these people that were out there drank blood. They offered him wine. And they ate
maggots. He was eating rice. You know, so there were some great stories
there. So yeah, I think that was it. It is my history, yes it is.
– Thanks for sharing that. – Sure. – All right, okay, leave that open. Let’s
see what we got here. Look at this beauty. Okay, let’s get it packed up. Merino Wool
and then 100% wool, kind of like Scottish plaid, beautiful. The idea is that these
are like the old time parties, how blankets were stacked up, you know?
They’d say it’s stacked up taller than a person standing. It’ll be five feet stacks
of blankets. And then they put their clan hats on there. Or they put children on it
and sit on it. And it’s like they would kill their wealth on it. And if they put
the important children on it as a way to show, “Here, here’s our precious child and
it’s like we’re putting all this wealth out for you to see this child, for you to
recognize his or her name. So look at all these.” We’re going to give
a lot of these away for the Sitka party. ♪ [music] ♪ – Good wool. ♪ [music] ♪ – Okay. Here we go. ♪ [music] ♪ – I should have turned this around. ♪ [music] ♪ – Our formline is when you pay
attention to the subtleties of it and the flow, and the form, and the positive and
negative space, you can make it sing, you know? – Literally just by a static piece of form
there, vibrating with the beauty and meaning. And that comes from understanding
the relationship of those curves, and those lines, and that space. And I
think a canoe definitely does the same in its form. As simple as it may appear, it’s
pretty complex. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of its lines and form. – Formline design is a thing, at least
for me I believe, I’m going to be studying my whole life and will never be able to
master. It’s so subtle. – It’s a continuum of participation in the
ancient language honestly. – Jerrod and Nick Galanin are also very
accomplished in many art media, ranging from their canoe building
apprenticeship with Steve Brown, to exceptionally crafted jewelry, to
Nick’s bold, conceptual work. ♪ [music] ♪ – I mean, the Haidas and the Tlingit,
most indigenous peoples in the world believe there’s a spirit in everything.
And I mean in the rocks, in the plants, in the fish for sure.
And how is this any different? And if we are believing that the energy
that we have while we’re putting this together is staying in here, how can we
not believe that this is a living thing? – Right. Yeah, the wool from every
mountain goat or whatever animal it is, sheep, like that comes from something with
a spirit. And that’s part of the whole process. – [Man] Congratulations – Thank you. – Congratulations. – Clarissa was selected as a National
Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in 2016. Just like Jennie Thlunaut, who
was awarded in 1986. Here she demonstrates aspects of weaving and culture at the
awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. – And then what we do is we have this
spinning pad, and I made this for my daughters when they were little because I
started them when they were young. You have to get them before
they hit puberty. [laughter] And then what we do is we’ll take
two strands of the prepared mountain goat
wool or the prepared, you know, Merino wool, and after I’ve
soaked the bark, and after I’ve wet my pad for friction, then what we do is we press
down and push forward so that both strands are twisting forward. And I’ll show you
how this is done. And then, you know, this is our warp. And the warp is all of
the yarns that are hanging down, okay. We don’t have time to show you
how to spin the weft yarn, which is all the yarns that weave across
the warp. And it takes about 1,000 yards of warp to create one full sized Chilkat
Robe. It’s about 10 yards that I can spin on my thigh in one hour. – Wow. – I watch a lot of Netflix while
I’m spinning. [laughter] [singing] – Boom. Tang, man. I mean, I wish I just
had the old style tins because every household they had Spam, they had Tang,
they had cans of Mandarin oranges, and they had Pilot Bread. That’s what they
had. So we’re at least going to include a few of these. And when we do a fire dish
in remembrance of these elders, it’s like they’ll be having the thing that
they loved having at one time. And I might have to get all
this Pilot Bread. Sure, maybe we’ll do at least one
or two them, put in the bowls in. I’ll put that right
there for now. Orange marmalade. Okay, get at least five
there. That’ll be enough. You don’t need…Well, sometimes
it’s fun to overdo it. – [Woman] I think Patricia needs a
couple for sure. [laughter] – Maxing out my money. Actually, I’m going
over, but whatever. Look at that. Look at that. It’s got the
old feel to it. Old, old idea. That’s the idea. Five, I’m going to get
five of them. See? You just look at that you got, wow, that’s a feel of grandma.
That’s what you want at a party, you know? All right. Okay, that’s enough. [Tlingit at Khu.éex’] Liz Howard, [Tlingit]
James Bradley, [Tlingit] [Tlingit]
[laughter] I don’t know what I’m saying [Tlingit] – Like you really do your research,
you know? – I do. – And then there’s the math and the
science, and they all have…like and you really pay attention to how the
construction of things and… – Well you know for me, the mountain goat
and this spruce roots, you know, this was cutting edge science
6,000 years ago. And so for today, what are we doing, you know? If I want
Tlingit methodology, if I want our weaving to be relevant 6,000 years from now, how
am I going to make that possible? It’s very obvious now that I’m the one
passing thorough the weaving, not the weaving in me. So the weaving’s
going to be going on without me. What am I adding to the bottom line? And
now this one, with my cancer that I’ve got, now this one kind of reflects my own
journey, you know? We’re genetically targeting what I have and trying to get it
stopped. It’s pretty aggressive so we’ll see. I am really trying to honor the
journey, yeah. So. – This is a spiritual practice for women. – Yeah. – It really is. And when you raise up the
spiritual practice of a woman, you raise up her emotional well-being,
her physical well-being, her psychological well-being. When you
strengthen the women in your community, it helps raise up the bar. It helps raise
up the level of harmonious existence. And I’m not saying that oh, you know,
peace comes to the land. I’m just saying that when you begin with
the basics of the woman who is learning this type of weaving, and you know,
and it’s a lifelong process, then it really does change her. I think of
what I used to be like. I think of it changes this certain aspect
of you. And you don’t even realize it. It’s a slow process. It’s not an overnight
process. I could die at the end of this year. I could die tomorrow. I mean,
any of us could die tomorrow. I’m not kidding. – I know. – I’m not kidding. – It is with deep sadness that I note that
Clarissa Rizal passed away of illness shortly after the filming of this
documentary. ♪ [music] ♪ – It is also with tremendous sadness that
I note that Teri Rofkar also passed away after our time with her. She had been
courageously fighting her illness for a long time, and she had been well enough
to talk with us. ♪ [music] ♪ – I love that color. – Yeah, it’s pretty cool. – It’s like rust, yeah. – Whoa.
– It’s my mom’s dry fish. – Ask uncle Little. [inaudible] – [Tlingit].
Do you want a unwrap it? What is it? [Tlingit] Keep going. – Wow. – [Girl] It’s big. – It’s big. – Wow. – That’s the back side.
Don’t look at that. – Oh, wow.
– Look at this. – [Tlingit] – Ovoid. [laughter] – Yeah. – There is some ovoids in there,
and blue. – I see an ovoid right there. – Yeah, ovoid. – Ovoids, we’ve been
practicing. [Tlingit] – It’s not ovoid. It’s… – [Tlingit] – Yeah. – [Tlingit]
– [Tlingit] – [Tlingit]
– [Howls like a wolf] – Do you want to try it on? [singing] [Tlingit] – Oh peekaboo baby. Peekaboo, girl. – Come here, Lizzie. Come here.
Come here. – We go this way, and then peek out this
way. Peek at mama. Where’s your mama? Where’s mama? There you are. There you
are. – My mother-in-law too, how much she
wanted to do a ceremony when she was done with these robes. When it gets
cut off the loom. [Tlingit] It’s just like a child when it comes off
that loom, the time that they spent with it. That’s the way that Clarissa Rizal
explained it. That’s the way that she talked about it. It’s just like a child.
And something else that she said is that when we have, when we raise up our women,
when we raise up our women, it raises up the bar. But that’s what
we’re doing here today. We’re raising up the work of our Tlingit women. – This is a good thing. [Tlingit] – This is how our ancestors
thought about the work that they were involved in,
to lift up before the people. [Tlingit] – A Naaxein blanket
has been born. It is created. [Tlingit] – Both us, Ravens and Eagles can talk
amongst each other about the feeling we have about this [Tlingit]. This is the way our ancestors
were long ago. – I’m pretty excited to see how the
Resilience exhibit will come about in the next couple years, bringing together this
piece with my mother’s last robe, or two robes ago, the one that Portland
Art Museum has, and then also the work from Jennie Thlunaut and Cora Benson.
So I guess I am a Chilkat Weaver. [laughter] [applause] [singing] – The spirit is alive in this work. And my
fingers may have done the work here, and I may have prayed a lot, and called on
my mother a lot to even…especially after she left, but we don’t need to alter this.
We don’t need to mess with the… This spirit is alive. [singing continues] [Tlingit] – We have our social and our spiritual
balance that must be maintained. And it is only fitting that we eagles come
forward to support you, and to hold your hand. [singing continues] – Gunalchéesh, it’s
good to see you smile. – Thank you. – It’s an honor to be here.
Gunalchéesh. [singing continues] – [Woman] This project is supported in
part by a grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum and the National Endowment for the
Humanities. To watch this film again and for more on this project, go to


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