August 30, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 35

Tlingit exchange to help fill out map

Library presentations by Tlingit elders from Juneau and Haines Junction, Y.T. are aimed at creating a map of traditional uses of the Chilkat Valley.

“Crossing Borders Through Communication” is part of the Chilkat Valley Storyboard Enhancement Grant funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Chilkoot Indian Association.

Yolanta Ryan said in the coming year the grant will produce a “storyboard” map of Tlingit place names, a touch screen that will include audios, videos, and stories produced by the exchange of information.

Marg Jackson, 94, an elder from Haines Junction will tell stories and talk about the settlement of Klukshu and other Native settlements in the Yukon, beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday. At 5 p.m., Helen Abbott Watkins of Juneau will give a Native food demonstration and tasting, including Tlingit delicacies like seaweed, clams, soapberries and beach asparagus.

At 6:30 p.m., Ishmael Hope, a storyteller of Tlingit and Inupiaq descent, will tell Tlingit stories honoring tradition bearers. A panel discussion including stories of places between Haines and Haines Junction will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Starting noon Wednesday, Watkins will speak on “The Wonder of Trees,” including traditional uses of trees for food and basket-weaving. Husband Raymong Watkins will demonstrative carving tools and talk about traditional woodworking.

At 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Tim Ackerman and Sheri Price of Haines will tell seal-hunting stories and also offer a tasting of seal meat. The video “Smokin’ Fish” will be shown at 3 p.m. Wednesday. It’s a humorous look at contemporary susbsistence activities set in Klukwan and created by Cory Mann, Watkins’ nephew.

Ryan said creation of the storyboard will include information from other sources including museums, other elders, books, photos and Native heritage centers.