Nestled in the valley of the Chilkat Mountains, alongside the Chilkat River, lies the Tlingit village of Klukwan. This beautiful place is the home of the Chilkat Tlingit people and often referred to as the capital of Tlingit culture.
After generations of pressure to become westernized and forced abandonment their generational practices, there has been a revival of art, language & culture in this region. Their ancestors were known as expert weavers, wood carvers, line form painters, dancers, musicians and storytellers. In recent years, they have sought to understand & learn these art forms, preserve their heritage in order to pass them on to future generations. The Jilkaat Kwann Heritage Center in Klukwan plays a central role in this process.
The Whale House Collection is one of the most highly acclaimed collections of Pacific Northwest Coast art in existence. The traditional art of woodcarving & form-line drawing are featured throughout the community and their collection of Chilkat blankets are the work of a new generation of master weavers sharing their craft. This week it will be my joy to learn, listen & observe this rich cultural resurrection as I have the honor to participate & encourage this growth.
First, we begin with the very traditional art of berry picking in the mountains! Sourcing from nature is a primary means of provision in this alaskan community.