Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Alaska State Libraries, Archives & Museums
For Immediate Release
September 21, 2022
This Saturday, September 24, Alaska Native Artist-in-Residence Debra Dzijuksuk O’Gara (Tlingit, Yup’ik, Irish) will give a talk entitled “Cultural Significance of Ravenstail and Chilkat Weaving” at the Sheldon Jackson Museum. Call the museum at (907) 747-8981 to reserve a spot if you'd like to attend in-person. Or see Zoom details below to attend online.
O’Gara describes the subject of her talk as follows:
These two art forms [Chilkat and Ravenstail weaving] nearly died out completely. Why and how did this happen? Focus will be on the strong resurgence today for both Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving which has provided medicine for many in their efforts in cultural and spiritual healing.
Just as Chilkat weaving is gaining new weavers, some of the traditional materials are becoming scarce due to climate change, loss of accessible lands, and unsustainable logging practices. What are some of the innovative solutions emerging to stave off this crisis?
Meeting ID: 872 9505 0342
Debra Dzijúksuk O’Gara is Tlingit, Yup’ik, Irish and raven from the Teey hit taan clan of Wrangell. She is a ravenstail and Chilkat weaver and currently lives in Petersburg, Alaska. As the third artist-in-residence of the summer, she'll be working at the museum most days until October 9. Her mother was born and raised in Mountain Village, Alaska and now lives in Juneau. Her grandmother Frances Tamaree Sheppard was born in Wrangell and died young. Her great grandmother Tillie Paul Tamaree was a civil rights activist and mother to William and Louis Paul. Tillie’s second husband and Dzijúksuk great grandfather, William Tamaree, was a community leader and carver.
Debra Dzijúksuk’s Chilkat and Ravenstail teachers have been the late Clarissa Rizal, whose teacher was Jennie Thlunaut; Lily Hope, who is Clarissa’s daughter; and Kay Parker. It is through this weaving and the art of her ancestors that she has found sobriety and an ever-growing circle of strong women and other two-spirit weavers. They share stories, lessons, mistakes and victories. They connect with each other and reconnect with our ancestors. Debra and these weavers are rediscovering and reviving the knowledge and stories of our clans that are embedded in the fibers of our weavings.
The Sheldon Jackson Museum is currently open Monday-Saturday, 9 am-4:30 pm, closed holidays. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and free for ages 18 and under and active duty military and their families (with an ID). Call (907) 747-8981 to confirm hours.
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