Friday, June 11, 2010



Writing now from Lillistøm, Norway - just outside Oslo. It has been a whirlwind of a week to be sure!

A week ago, the family traveled to Juneau where we all danced in our first Celebration!
A gathering of Tlingit, Haida, Tshimsian, Nish'ga and other members of the Seaalaska (Native) Corporation, it is truely a thing to behold. We flew into town just in the nick of time to get into the panaramic photo taken every year. You can see the camera in the center below. (Picture's over!) We'll have to order a copy.

The amazing thing about Celebration is that it is just that. When else does a community get together when it's not a wedding or a funeral? This is a party wrapped up in a family reunion wrapped up in a cultural renissance. Started in 1982, Da-ka and I attended our first Celebration together in 2004. Then again in 2006. 2008 - I was too tired and pregnant after spending 2 weeks on the sea ice to travel again, so it was a joy to attend this year!
Keet, Da-ka, Akka (Shirley), and Nathan Jackson (Shirley's first cousin).

Nathan is a world renowned carver. At the Anchorage Museum the week before Celebration, we saw they have his picture right as you walk in to the museum. Every time we passed it, Keet signed "Grandpa". They hadn't even met yet!

Here are the four generations: Da-ka, Keet, Yé (Chris McNeil Sr.), and Akka.
We learned from Chris that "Yé" is Great-grandpa in Nish'ga. Originally from the Nass river area on the Canada side, Keet's great-grandpa now lives in Juneau, but has been a fisherman all his life.

 The family danced all toghether three times with two different Dance Groups. Da-ka wore the Killer Whale Tunic woven by his cousin, Anna Brown, as well as a Chilkat Blanket she wove on seperate occasions. It was a great honor to wear the family at.oow (the artistic/ ceremonial objects and songs of the clan belong to the clan, not to individuals).

Keet slept through the entire first dance, and only wanted to be held the second dance. He's a great dancer at home though!

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