“Haa Shagoon” Filmed in Haines, Alaska

"Haa Shagoon" film written, directed and produced by Joseph Kawaky - 1981

“Haa Shagoon” film written, directed and produced by Joseph Kawaky – 1981

I was not even 25 years old when this film was shot.  In the Summer of 1980, because of sudden news of a death of a dear love, I  was in Haines on a private retreat in a small cabin on Paradise Cove with my then 9-month-old daughter, Lily Hope.  I remember hearing about the struggles the local Tlingit were having with the local, state and federal governments regarding the Native rights and use of the Chilkoot Lake and River.  It was an emotional time for many of the local Tlingits.  Over the next couple of decades, I had come to know many of the folks in this film.  I watched this film many years ago when it first came out in 1981, just a year after it was filmed.  I bought this copy for only $10 at the Sealaska Heritage Institute retail shop and watched it again.  All but one or two of the elders in the film have all passed.  It was emotional 34 years ago as it was today.


  1. Hi! I am so happy to see your post here about this film. I’ve been looking for a copy of it.
    I knew Joe Kawaky back then, but I never saw the finished film. Now I am teaching Art History of the Northwest Coast, and I’d love to preview this for my class.
    anyway, I just emailed the Sealaska Heritage folks in hopes of finding a copy.
    Thanks for writing about it!
    warmly, Deanna P

  2. Oh, I am so sorry, I just was reading more and learned of Clarissa’s passing. My warmest thoughts and wishes for your family. Blessings to Clarissa.

  3. I worked on this film in 1980! My first and only trip to Alaska.


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