Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is a Native nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI was established by Sealaska, one of 13 Alaska Native Regional Corporations formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, after being conceived by clan leaders, traditional scholars and Elders. Our headquarters in the Walter Soboleff Building in downtown Juneau includes a library and archive, a cedar clan house, art installations and exhibits, and a retail store.
Guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, Native Artist Committee, and Southeast Regional Language Committee, SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native art, culture, history, and education statewide. SHI supports an extensive archives and a collection of ethnographic art, which includes the largest collection of Tlingit language material in the world. Biennially SHI hosts Celebration, Alaska’s second-largest Native gathering. SHI enjoys organizational stability and a reputation for excellence.
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Since its inception, SHI’s impact has been at the forefront of Southeast Alaska Native academic research, cultural preservation and revitalization, which contribute to self-awareness and understanding among all members of the community. SHI offers numerous programs in Southeast Alaska Native culture, history, language and art, collaborates with local schools to promote academics and cultural education to students and teachers, and publishes scholarly and popular works in Southeast Native culture, language, and art.
We honor our ancestors and pave the way for the future by making heritage a living thing. For more than 10,000 years, we have been guided by ancient values that allowed our people to adapt to rapid cultural changes and survive as a distinct cultural group. Today, we are seeking to integrate our cultural values into the institutions that directly serve our people.
SHI is committed to maintain the integrity of Northwest Coast art and our quest to designate it as a national treasure of the United States by Congress. SHI has a vision for the future to establish the Northwest Coast and Alaska Native arts capital in Juneau to ensure the survival of Native arts.
Together, we can provide sustainable social and economic benefits to Southeast communities and across Alaska.