Hundreds of people lined the boat landing at Douglas Harbor on Wednesday singing and chanting to welcome canoes from around Southeast to the unofficial start of Celebration organized by the One People Canoe Society.
Highlights from Celebration 061516 AE 1 Capital City Weekly Hundreds of people lined the boat landing at Douglas Harbor on Wednesday singing and chanting to welcome canoes from around Southeast to the unofficial start of Celebration organized by the One People Canoe Society.

Michael Penn

Coming Ashore Ceremony at Douglas Harbor sponsored by the One People Canoe Society on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. With canoes coming from Southeast towns and villages, the event is the unofficial start of Celebration.

David R. Boxley's "Txaamsem" won Best of Show in Sealaska Heritage Institute's Northwest Coast Juried Art Show. The show is on display in the Walter Soboleff Building through Sep. 30. Photo by Lisa Phu

Gabby Kay shows how she helps her mother, Shgen George, weave during the Ravenstail and Chilkat Weaver Symposium at the Walter Soboleff Building's clan house Wednesday. Photo by Lisa Phu

Francis Neumann whips up her entry for the Celebration 2016 Soapberry Contest on Friday at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center.Photo by Lisa Phu

Michael Penn

Celebration 2016 Native Fashion Show in the Shuka Hit Clan House at the Walter Soboleff Center on Friday, June 10, 2016.

Click Thumbnails to View
Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Story last updated at 6/15/2016 - 12:09 pm

Highlights from Celebration

Wet trip but happy landing

Hundreds of people lined the boat landing at Douglas Harbor on Wednesday singing and chanting to welcome canoes from around Southeast to the unofficial start of Celebration organized by the One People Canoe Society. Ten canoes made the journey this year, though some had a rough time of it.

“Our journey was long and wet, but we have new friends because of it!” Albert Hinchman, skipper of the Hoonah canoe, shouted to the cheering crowd as he introduced his boat.

The fleet of canoes encountered bad weather almost immediately after leaving Hoonah on Saturday.

Pouring rain, wet clothes and soaked sleeping bags did nothing to dampen the spirits of his paddlers, most of whom he described as “youngsters.” The youngest paddler in his boat was 10 years old.

“We had to fight the whole way,” Hinchman said, recounting the trip. “We fought the wind, the rain, the waves, the tide. We fought together as a team.”

— reporting by Sam DeGrave


‘Totally blown away’: Juried Art winner

David R. Boxley was awarded Best of Show, the top prize in Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Northwest Coast Juried Art Show, for his piece “Txaamsem” — an acrylic formline painting on a deer hide drum.

“I’m totally blown away by this,” Boxley said. “I have worked for a very long time to understand formline. I believe that it is the most beautiful thing in the world.”

The show features 36 pieces by 22 artists and can be seen at the Nathan Jackson Gallery in the Walter Soboleff Building through Sept. 30.

New to Celebration was the Juried Youth Art Exhibit and competition, which is on display at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center through June 30.

“When I saw them putting it up, I almost started crying. It is just so awesome,” SHI President Rosita Worl said.

A piece made by 61 sixth-grade Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School students called “Warrior armor and helmet” took first place.

— reporting by Lisa Phu


Weave it where you are

Juneau weaver Shgen George showed off her solution to the problem of weaving on-the-go to a packed clan house audience during the Chilkat and Ravenstail Weaving symposium on Wednesday, pulling out her ski bag and assembling her loom in front of everybody.

“This loom and this ski bag have literally traveled around the world with me and I weave every day, pretty much no matter what, even if it’s two minutes,” George said.“I pulled this bag through Narita [International] Airport in Japan,”

Chilkat and Ravenstail are traditional weaving practices of the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian and other Northwest Coast people of Southeast Alaska, the Yukon and British Columbia. It’s traditionally used to make ceremonial regalia, like robes, dance tunics, aprons, leggings, vests, bags and hats. Artists spend years weaving a robe or ceremonial blanket.

The symposium audience let out “oohs” and “aahs” and clapped when she finished putting the pieces together and her work-in-progress was revealed.

— reporting by Lisa Phu


All in the family at soapberry contest

Doris McLean faced stiff competition at Celebration 2016 Soapberry Contest: her sister Francis Neumann and her cousin Charlene Baker — all three are from Whitehorse.

The dessert involves whipping up the tiny red, bitter berries with water and sugar. Some contestants add other fruits such as banana or blueberry for added flavor but McLean eschews the practice.

“I don’t use nothing in my soapberry. What you’re tasting is soapberry,” she said.

“They put everything in it and they mess up their soapberry,” McLean said, referring to the other contestants.

McLean took first place at the contest, winning $500, with Neumann second and Baker third.

— reporting by Lisa Phu


Keeping traditions alive at Native Art Market

Janice Limbaugh was one of the 45 artists from Southeast Alaska, Washington and Canada who displayed their work at Celebration’s second Northwest Coat Art Market.

Limbaugh makes and sells beaded headbands, hairpins and pendants. She has been beading since she was 9, “and I’m older now,” she said with a laugh.

Limbaugh learned her craft from her mother, with whom she used to come to Celebration to sell beads.

“What I do here is very traditional; I stick with traditional colors and designs,” she said. “The designs were passed down to me from my mother from my grandparents, and everything I have here is going to be passed down to my children.”

Limbaugh has already begun teaching her daughter how to bead, and she hopes Janelle will be ready to display some work of her own at the next Celebration.

“It’s exciting, but I’ll be more excited when my stuff looks like my mom’s,” Janelle Limbaugh said laughing.

— reporting by Sam DeGrave


Sold-out fashion show wows

Sleek lines on gowns, shimmering fabrics and runway poses wowed the small crowd in the sold out venue, the Shuká Hít (clan house) in the Walter Soboleff Building on June 10. Garments, jewelry and body art by 18 Native designers were on display at Celebration’s first ever fashion show.

There were designs by internationally acclaimed Haida designer Dorothy Grant, whose work was recently seen on the Oscars red carpet by actor Duane E. Howard, and Kwakiutl and Squamish designer Pam Baker whose “New Eagle” dress was crafted in a way to model an Eagle flying, telling the story of the bird that flies closest to its creator.

It was a seemingly simple way of incorporating Native style into mainstream life, said Sealaska Vice Chair Jackie Pata.

“Not only is our culture special to us when we come to Celebration or when we put on our special regalia during ceremonies, but . . . we are Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian every day,” she said.

— reporting by Paula Ann Solis


Designers: Shgen Doo Tan George, Dorothy Grant, Janice Jackson, Pam Baker, Jackie Pata Johnson, Rico Worl, Maria Shaa Tlaa Williams, Rosita Worl, Heather Dickson, Amy Mitchell, Shyla Germain, Lily Hope and Deanna Lampe, Kandi McGilton, Marcus Gho, Bobby Itta, Louise Kadinger and Crystal Worl.


Seaweed contest

Dora Barr won the seaweed contest, with Roberta Revey and Ivan Williams coming in second and third.

“The winner for me had enough salt and not too much crunch — that’s how I like mine so that’s what I chose,” judge Ashley Colon said.

— reporting by SHI