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The Spirit Wraps Around You: Northern Northwest Coast Native Textiles

May 8 - October 9, 2021

Opening Weekend

Virtual Dedication

Friday, May 7, 5-7 pm via livestream

Tune in for the livestream dedication of The Spirit Wraps Around You: Northern Northwest Coast Native Textiles (SWAY) exhibit. This program is offered virtually due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions.

Youth Art Activity for Ages 6-12: Yogurt Cup Baskets with Kay Field Parker

Saturday, May 8, 10 am-Noon at the APK

Celebrate the opening of The Spirit Wraps Around You at the Alaska State Museum by creating a woven basket with a yogurt cup base with weaver Kay Field Parker. Kay has been weaving Ravenstail since 1990 and is a frequent weaving teacher and artist demonstrator.

The workshop will be in-person, OUTDOORS at the APK. Masks and social distancing are encouraged. Space is limited - request a spot by filling out the participation form.

SWAY Opening Day

Saturday, May 8, Noon-4 pm at the Alaska State Museum

Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures, a limited number of visitors are allowed in the galleries to maintain social distancing. Call the museum at 465-2901 to schedule your visit (appointments required). Group size is up to 10 people.

SWAY Lectures

Saturday, May 8, 1-2 and 3-4 pm in the APK Lecture Hall

Two lectures will be held in the afternoon, and both will be recorded. Due to COVID-19, space is limited and registration is required. Visitors are welcome to attend one or both lectures, with up to 5 people in their group.

1–2 pm: Lani Hotch, Klukwan's Legacy of Weaving
3–4 pm: Steve Henrikson, A History of Native Textiles on the Northern Northwest Coast

Covid Safety Precautions

During your visit, we encourage you to:

  • Wear a face covering.
  • Maintain 6 feet social distancing.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Please don't come if you're sick.

For your protection:

  • High-touch surfaces, door handles, and lockers are sanitized throughout the day.
  • The museum accepts credit/debit card (prefer no cash).
  • Highly interactive exhibits are closed.
  • Public event gathering size is restricted to maintain social distancing.


Organized by the Alaska State Museum (ASM), this exhibit traces the history of the sacred textiles known today as “Ravenstail” and “Chilkat” robes. Two dozen robes will carry the story of Native weaving among the Tsimshian, Haida, and Tlingit of Alaska and British Columbia, representing both ancient and modern ceremonial robes made by Alaska Natives and First Nations weavers.

Woven from the plush white fur of mountain goats, these robes were seen by early Euro-American visitors to the northern Northwest Coast when they contacted First Nations and Alaska Native people. Their use is reserved for sacred ceremonies, where dancers wear them to display the crests of their clans. In the 1900s, only a few weavers carried these unique traditions into the 21st century.

The exhibit is developed by ASM, working with a curatorial team of internationally renowned weavers:

  • Evelyn Vanderhoop (Haida),
  • Delores Churchill (Haida),
  • Marie Oldfield (Tsimshian), and
  • Lani Hotch (Tlingit)

Assisted by Juneau-area weavers:

  • Kay Parker,
  • Marcia Stier,
  • Lily Hope (Tlingit),
  • Janice Criswell (Haida),
  • and others.

Photo banner credit: Potlatch Guests Arriving at Sitka, Winter 1803 by Bill Holm. Collection of the Alaska State Museum 92-22-1

The Spirit Wraps Around You: A New Exhibit on Northern Northwest Coast Native Textiles

Lani Strong Hotch (Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center), Steve Henrikson, Jackie Manning and Aaron Elmore (Alaska State Museum)

Abstract: The Alaska State Museum and Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center are collaborating with Alaska Native/First Nations co-curators on a large exhibit on the history of “Ravenstail” (Northern geometric) and Naaxein (Chilkat) weaving, to open in Juneau in May 2021. This presentation highlights the planning and design process to date and previews some of the artifacts and subject matter to be exhibited.

  • Jackie Manning at a podium while smiling & talking. (5-b Jackie Manning)
  • Lani Hotch at a podium giving a talk with slides about Northern Northwest Coast Textiles Exhibit 2020. (5-b Saantass' Lani Hotch)
  • Chilkat blanket display being set up by 3 women. (6-b APK museum project)

Photographs courtesy Peter Metcalfe/Sharing our Knowledge.

Links provided by Sharing Our Knowledge: A Conference of Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian Tribes & Clans, Juneau, Alaska 2019.

Dye Project

The Chilkat Dye Working Group is a collaboration of weavers meeting monthly with the Alaska State Museum to guide the research of both historic and new Chilkat dye technologies. As part of the Pacific Northwest Conservation Science Consortium, the group sends both historic fiber samples and new dye reference materials to chemists at Portland State University for characterization. This synergy of art and science enhances our understanding of past innovations in their cultural context and promotes the ongoing practice of weaving through a network of nourishing relationships.

The Chilkat Dye Working Group

Liana Wallace (Tlingit), Lily Hope (Tlingit), and Tami Lasseter Clare (Portland State University)

Abstract: Chilkat weavers, and chemistry professor Tami Lasseter Clare of Portland State University, will report on their collaborative research and answer questions in conjunction with the Alaska State Museum’s summer exhibition of textile regalia:

  1. To make space for a dialog among weavers, museums, and other kinds of experts about Chilkat weaving technology and meaning;
  2. To better understand the dye innovations of Chilkat weavers;
  3. To enhance dye choices and creative control for the benefit of living and future weavers;
  4. To celebrate the people, past+present+future, who make and use Chilkat weavings; and
  5. To create a model of research that foregrounds the priorities of Indigenous people through a network of long-term relationships.

The presenters will report on the first year of research and upcoming activities including the convening of the Pacific Northwest Conservation Science Consortium that will meet in Juneau next summer for a detailed presentation and discussion of Chilkat dye analysis.

Lianna speaks into a microphone. A Chilkat robe is displayed in the background. (3-b Lianna Wallace)

Photographs courtesy Peter Metcalfe/Sharing our Knowledge.

Links provided by Sharing Our Knowledge: A Conference of Tlingit, Haida & Tsimshian Tribes & Clans, Juneau, Alaska 2019.



  • Ravenstail Weavers Guild
  • The Ciri Foundation
  • Sealaska Heritage Institute
  • Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives & Museum
  • Juneau Community Foundation


  • Kay Parker
  • Marcia Stier
  • Janet Hall Schempf

Additional funding to support this program is being solicited by the Friends of the State Library, Archives and Museums (FOSLAM). Contributions may be made through the FOSLAM website (please specify “SWAY Exhibit”).

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