Alaska's Native Citezenship bill circa 1915
A great deal of the research for Tlingit family ties must start at the beginning. It may take some time but as said " a thousand mile hike begins with the first step". What i am going to be looking for are individuals from alaska who would have had to leave for fear of imprisonment for being a shaman. I think my second clue is from Dye Alaska. There is so much documented on the culture that is is redundant to exercise repeating what is written. what you wil see are snaps of my journey as i discover them or who leads me to the next set of clues. So lets get started. I found an excellent site www.tlingitculture.com and even joined a talk site and have begun the information chase. you can join in if you like. I will be asking tlingit family that are still around for some information maybe someone will have a name or a location to look at.
Tlingit Long House Wall Panel
My first discovery into Tlingit Culture had to be through the power of the art form. This influence has remaind with me to this day. If it were not for the internet my reseach into a past that i had very little experience with would not have been possible. Sites such as; http://alaskanativearts.net and many more help to create a wealth of knowledge that many of us do not have immediate access to on a daily basis. I am now researching how to speak the tlingit language. And slowly i am getting to know otherpeople from the area my ancestors lived and died. Throughout this process of discovery has been the art forms that has inspired me as an artist.
Tlingit Blanket (unknown) circa 1800
It might have been highly unlikely for me to ever have seen a real blanket if i did not see one in a museum collection. That is a rare thing in and of itself. As an artist i am inspired by the skill and level of imagination of the past.
Tlingit Elder wearing Chilkat Blanket
It was never an easy lifestyle as some would like to imagine. Life on the land is rough and very risky. It took very rugged and strong people to live under these conditions. Yet wonderful art forms were created, stories remembered and songs danced.
George Shortridge wears Chiefs' Robe. He is known as the Keeper of the Whale House. circa 1895