Tlingit

Anna Brown Ehlers - National Heritage Award

Anna Brown Ehlers - National Heritage Award

Anna Brown Ehlers remembers the moment when she first dreamed of becoming a Chilkat weaver. She was four, Alaska had just become a state, and her uncle was dancing in his traditional Chilkat blanket during a community celebration.

“I saw that beautiful design and those rich colors. I watched the fringe gracefully moving back and forth as my uncle danced, and I knew I hoped I could do that someday,” she said.

Fifty-eight years later, Anna has been recognized as among the country’s foremost artists by the National Endowment for the Arts through a National Heritage Fellowship. The awards were announced in June. In 2001, First Peoples Fund honored Anna through a Community Spirit Award for her work to revitalize and pass on Chilkat weaving, an art form that was nearly lost in her lifetime.

Creating New Patterns of Healing

Creating New Patterns of Healing

A member of the Chilkat Indian Village Tribe in Klukwan, Alaska, Lani Hotch (Tlingit) weaves contemporary woolens in the Pacific Northwest tradition. She is a 2011 First Peoples Fund Community Spirit Award honoree, a founding member and on the board of the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center nonprofit organization, and a member of the Ravenstail Weaver’s Guild.

To Help People Grieve

To Help People Grieve

Jennie Wheeler (Tlingit) gathers a family at the local church in her Native fishing village of Yakutat, Alaska, and teaches them to create their dance dresses, boots, and moccasins for the upcoming memorial potlatch. They talk and support one another. 

Tlingit artist weaves her vision, and the community responds

Tlingit artist weaves her vision, and the community responds

When people first walk through the Chilkat weaving exhibit in her community’s first Native heritage center, they will be not only educated on her tribe’s history but moved by the importance of weaving throughout the generations.