In the opening ceremonies, Bob Sam places Chilkat robe over Ed Kunz's shoulders

In the “Warming of Hands” opening ceremonies, Bob Sam places Chilkat robe over Ed Kunz’s shoulders

On the evening of Wednesday, October 28th, clan leaders welcomed participants in the “Warming of Hands” ceremony to kick off another Clan Conference of Tsimpshian, Haida and Tlingit Tribes and Clans.  The audience included academics and artists from throughout Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.  For the third year, Chilkat weavers, Ravenstail weavers, cedar bark weavers and spruceroot weavers gathered together to demonstrate and present their work in the lobby of Centennial Hall in Juneau, Alaska.


Yarrow Vaara and her mother Suzi Williams attend the opening ceremony “Warming of Hands” the night before the Clan Conference 2015 begins

During the four days that followed, nearly 100 presentations and workshops were staged, with a Thursday luncheon to honor philosopher, actor, clan leader Walter Porter, and evenings dedicated to traditional music and dance, oratory, poetry readings and a Friday-night dinner honoring the late scholar, writer and poet Richard Dauenhauer.


Chilkat robes and one Ravenstail robe (woven by none other) await the time to dance

The Clan Conference was the latest in the series of what has become the premier scholarly gathering for historians, academics, elders, clan leaders, artists and youth who are involved in the study and documentation of Southeast Alaska Native history, culture and language.


Elder carver Nathan Jackson (R) and his right hand man, Steve Brown

Earlier Clan Conferences were held in Haines & Klukwan (1993), Sitka (1995), Ketchikan (1996), Sitka (1997 and 2007), and the last four in 2009, 2011, 2013, and this year were all held in Juneau.


Master of Ceremonies Harold Jacobs tells a humorous introduction of elders Percy Kunz (L) and Marie Olsen (R) — Notice Harold’s Chilkat top hat!

Previous gatherings were organized by the late Andrew Hope III.  For the 2007 conference, Hope was joined by curator Steve Henrikson (University of Alaska/ Alaska State Museum) and anthropologist Sergei Kan (Dartmouth College), who served as co-organizers.  Since Andy Hope’s passing in 2008, the most recent clan conferences have been spearheaded by his brother, Gerry Hope, along with a couple of his best friends Dick and Nora Dauenhauer, and long-time friend Peter Metcalfe, collegues Alice Taff and Sergei Kahn, and Andy’s son Ishmael Hope.


Hans Chester lends support to elder Selina Everson giving the closing prayer at the “Warming of Hands” ceremony

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Norma Shorty, Florence Sheakley, Emma Shorty and Connie Munro


Ricky Tagaban, Clarissa Rizal and Suzi Williams discuss the differences of using the traditional mountain goat wool (in Suzi’s hand) as opposed to the merino wool


Scholars Aldona Jonaitis and Eric Holzinger visit a couple of the weavers who are demonstrating at the Clan Conference including Suzi Williams, Yarrow Vaara, Ricky Tagaban, Jean Lampe, Lily Hope and Clarissa Rizal


Yarrow, Suzi and Ricky share their knowledge of weaving and spinning techniques


Yarrow Vaara shows the side braids of “Copper Child” 5-piece Chilkat ensemble (woven by Clarissa Rizal)


Lily Hope has had a long day at day one of the Clan Conference


Ricky Tagaban tugs at a piece of mountain goat hide and tells us that it is easier to spin short pieces of mountain goat wool than longer pieces of merino wool for our warp


Irene Jean Lampe tells a weaving story to local weavers Karen Taug and Catrina Mitchell


Suzi Williams gives a presentation on the spiritual aspects of Chilkat weaving


Buddies Tong Tengs (maker of Chilkat cones) and Preston Singletary (glass blower)


Eric Holzinger and Bob Starboard examine the original carving and the digital 3-D replica of identical dance staffs


Two up-and-coming-elders Harold Jacobs and Fred White


Deana Dartt, Native American Curator at the Portland Art Museum presents the outline for PAM’s first Tlingit art exhibit slated for 2017 — other Museum staff panelists also include Steven Henrikson, Kate Bunn-Marcuse and Barbara Brotherton


Ricky Tagaban and Michael Hoyt discuss the latest cultural presentation at the Clan Conference while “Little Watchman” and “Chilkat Child” listen up!


At the Walter Porter Memorial luncheon held on the first day of the Clan Conference, Byron Mallott talks about his childhood growing up with Walter in Yakutat


Lance Twitchell gives an introduction of the film he directed/produced on Nora and Dick Dauenhauer


At the Richard Dauenhauer memorial dinner held the second night of the Clan Conference, the audience watches the film about the Dauenhauers by Lance Twitchell


Long time friend and collegue of Dick Dauenhauer: Walter Krauss provided some humor of the courtship of Dick and Nora Dauenhauer over 40 years ago


Ishamel Hope recites a poem written by Dick Dauenhauer


With Clan Conference organizers Peter Metcalfe and Gerry Hope, and presenters Ishmael Hope and Lance Twitchell, Steve Langdon remembers Dick Dauenhauer


Sergei Kahn remembers Dick Dauenhauer


Dick’s beloved wife, Nora Dauenhauer takes a bow


In her partial Halloween costume and make-up, Clarissa Rizal stands between two Alaskan scholars: Father Michael Oleska and Sergei Kahn


Clan Conference organizers (?, Kathy Ruddy, Alice Taft, David Katzeek, Harold Jacobs and Sergei Kahn) allow Ishmael Hope to give the the closing speech during the Clan Conference wrap-up