Story last updated at 1/23/2014 - 11:34 am
Sealaska Heritage Institute will sponsor skin-sewing workshops in five communities in an effort to revitalize a traditional art form and to create a cottage industry in Southeast Alaska, according to a release from the Native corporation.
Through the program, called the Southeast Alaska Sustainable Arts Project, students in Angoon, Ketchikan, Haines, Anchorage and Petersburg will learn to stretch hides, cut patterns and hand-sew hats and scarves from furs. The first class is scheduled this month in Angoon, and after receiving numerous requests from people in Anchorage, SHI for the first time will sponsor a skin-sewing workshop there. Almost 2,000 Sealaska shareholders live in Anchorage and the surrounding area.
The workshops will be taught by Jeremiah James (scheduled by community). Students will learn to make products from sea otter fur. The workshops are open to everyone. Applicants who are not eligible for the class under the Marine Mammal Protection Act can bring an alternate material, such as deer skin. To register, contact Shaadoo'tlaa at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 907-586-9129.
There is a $50 fee to cover the cost of materials, but students may also pay for the class by donating one of their items to SHI. The project is funded mostly through a three-year grant from the State of Alaska. SHI consults with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure harvest levels are sustainable.
Sealaska Heritage Institute was founded 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.