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Sealaska Committed to Future of Celebration


Juneau, AK – Celebration 2014 concluded Saturday with Grand Exit that included thousands of dancers from across the region and beyond. This year’s host group Saanya Kwáan provided the songs for Grand Entrance and Grand Exit.

“Sealaska’s contribution to Celebration is an investment in our people and communities,” said Albert Kookesh, Sealaska board chair. “As long as there is one dance group that wants to perform, Celebration will endure. This event is a powerful expression of the heritage of our people, and Sealaska is committed to Celebration for generations to come.”

Celebration was created in 1982 to perpetuate the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures. From the first event with only a few hundred people, Celebration has grown into a three-day event that includes dance performances, Alaska Native food contests, a juried art competition, lectures and a parade. It is now the largest cultural gathering in the state.

“Providing a gathering like Celebration is central to our core Native values,” said Kookesh. “Sealaska’s commitment to this event is unwavering. We need to keep our culture alive and thriving. We’re very pleased to announce that more than $75,000 was raised during Celebration for the construction of the Walter Soboleff Center. This center will house the activities of the Sealaska Heritage Institute and perpetuate our heritage into the future.”

Sealaska has funded Celebration since inception of the biennial event and is a core contributor to the Sealaska Heritage Institute. Sealaska has contributed approximately $16 million to SHI operations since the institute was created in 1980.

Sealaska, Values In Action

Sealaska is the Regional Native institution established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA). Almost 22,000 tribal member shareholders of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian own Sealaska. Sealaska’s purpose is to strengthen our people, culture and homelands through values in action.

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