Hoonah Culture Camp

Haa Tóo Yéi Yatee 
STEPS Summer Cultural Programming 

This summer was a busy and very amazing time! We are so thankful for our partner organizations and communities. During our journey to use the language in everything we do, and bring our traditional ways of being into our daily lives we participated in Culture Camps in several of our communities. Travels began in Angoon, as we worked with our partners, T&H, Angoon Community Association and Angoon Schools to bring a group of students and educators together to have Néechdéi Beach Camp. This camp was focused on our younger campers as we explored and learned about, Intertidal live, plants, and animals as well as Lingít language, song and dance.  

Hoonah City Schools also partnered with T&H, ISP, HHF, HTC,Sealaska, SHI SSP, HIA, THRHA, Forest Service and the amazing community of Hoonah. Taking place at Kennel Creek Cabin students spend several days in the amazing land of the Wooshkeetaan clan, learning alongside family, teachers, elders, culture bearers and artists. Beginning with a week long Art Week with Aunty Carol Williams, Master Regalia Maker, Master Weaver Shgen George, and Carver and fellow Hoonah Descendant Herb Sheakley Jr, and apprentice Richard Didrickson, Jr. the students made drums and adorned with ancestral designs of Tlingit Formline- and Aunty Carol worked with our younger campers to make beaded headbands, and Shgen and her apprentice Gabby Kay create Ravens Tail Headbands. After Art Week, students from all ages spend the final week learning to harvest, both from the beach, water, and forest. And with grandparents and elders, along side the Aunties and Uncles campers harvest the most important of teachings, Harvested the Knowledge of our Ancestors.

Students processed seal, the meat, fat, flippers, hide and learned to preparing the whole animal.  In addition, students learned to make Tináa Necklaces, and Chilkat Woven Necklaces, and process foods to be distributed to community elders and guests. Learning to process, smoke, jar, pressure cook, as well pick, clean and store beach asparagus, berries and teas. Inner strength is a part of becoming stronger people of the land, and this year were were happy to include NATIVE YOUTH OLYMPICS. 

Our journey also lead us to Lkoot Culture Camp on the Chilkoot River in Haines and venturing among the clan houses of our ancestors in Klukwan. We worked to bring our traditional teachings of being strong Environmental Stewards of the Land, as well as bringing elders to camp daily, to share encouragement and stories of strength and compassion. We were so thankful to have campers overnight, and sharing in evening harvesting and storytelling with community. 

Heather Lgeik’i Powell 

Project Director, Haa Kusteeyí Áyá Hoonah City School