Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Southeast Alaska art, culture and history

We have just added three books to our collection which highlight the tribes of Southeast Alaska. Not only are these books visually beautiful and full of interesting information, but in a community as small as Southeast Alaska, they're almost like a neighborhood scrapbook.
Celebration: Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian dancing on the land was published by the Sealaska Heritage Institute to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Celebration - the dance and cultural festival held each year in Juneau. The photos in this book come from a couple of years at the beginning of this event's history and from a couple of the most recent gatherings. The images are full of color, energy and life as dancers and artists from all over Southeast display their regalia, drumming and dancing. My favorite section is the one that focuses on the next generation: the Baby Regalia Review. With the exception of one or two shy tots, they all look like they are enjoying all the activity. Rosita Worl's text is very informative, as well.
In Sisterhood: the history of Camp 2 of the Alaska Native Sisterhood is not just an introduction to some of the ANS' most prominent members. It's also an overview of the life of Tlingit women growing up in the 1930's and 40's, a history of the Alaska Natives' fight for civil rights, and a celebration of 82 years of working to make Juneau - and all of Southeast Alaska - a better place. This aspect of Alaskan history is often overlooked, and this is the most complete examination that the subject has received to date.
Manawa: Pacific heartbeat, a celebration of contemporary Maori and Northwest Coast art is the exhibition catalogue for the "Manawa - Pacific heartbeat" exhibit that opened in Vancouver's Spirit Wrestler Gallery in 2006. Bringing together 31 Maori and 15 Northwest Coast artists, the contemporary interpretations of indigenous culture in this gallery of photos is truly gorgeous. Look for the talented work of local artists such as Norman Jackson, Isabel Rorick, Robert Davidson and Evelyn Vanderhoop.

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