PUBLISHED: 4:56 PM on Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Native history conference planned for Sitka in March

Photo courtesy of Kootznoowoo, Inc.
  The 2007 Clan Conference is dedicated to the memory of Tlingit political and clan leader, historian, and tradition-bearer Mark Jacobs Jr., who died in Sitka in January 2005.
Sharing our Knowledge: A Conference of Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian Tribes and Clans will feature presentations by more than 90 Native and academic experts from the United States and Canada.

Held by the Southeast Alaska Native Educators Association and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, the meeting convenes March 22-25 in Sitka.

Grant funds of $43,000 will be channeled through the Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

The National Science Foundation will fund the major conference on northern Northwest Coast Native cultures and history.

According to volunteer organizers, Dartmouth anthropologist Sergei Kan and Alaska curator Steve Henrikson, the gathering builds on the popular "Clan Conferences" held during the 1990s. Andrew Hope III, conference executive director, said that the upcoming conference "allows the public to become immersed in the history and cultures of the northern coast, and access to the latest research and leading thinkers."

Academic researchers and Native tradition bearers will present an array of topics, including clan histories, sacred sites, oral traditions, histories of contact with Europeans and Americans, archaeology, repatriation, and Native arts and weaving. In addition, workshops on protocol, intellectual property law, language revitalization, artifact preservation, tribal government organization, and research techniques are planned.

Hope said the event will afford a rare opportunity for key elders and cultural experts to share information with colleagues, students, members of the Native community, and the public. "The support and enthusiasm for this conference has been overwhelming," he said, adding that the organizers have dedicated their efforts to the memory of their teacher and friend, a noted Tlingit political and clan leader, historian, and tradition-bearer, Mark Jacobs, Jr., who passed away in 2005.

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