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A Groundbreaking Collaboration

HIA X NPS


"If you do not know the names, your Tlingit way of life will drift away."
-Tlingit Proverb 

Glacier Bay is the Ancestral Homeland of the Xunaa Tlingit's four matrilineal clans (T'akdeintaan, Kaagwaantaan, Wooshkeetaan, Chookaneidí). In the early 1990's HIA and the National Park Service began a project to construct an Ancestral Home which would anchor the people back to their Homeland. The cooperative development of Xunaa Shuká Hít (Huna Ancestor's House) located in Bartlett Cove (Gaatheeni) commemorates traditional clan houses that once lined the shores of the region. This project has created a mutual understanding between the National Park Service and Xunaa Indian Association. In the spirit of mutual collaboration, we built and maintain this home together. After 30 years of hard work; we are honored to have restored OUR HOME in Glacier Bay National Park. Gunalchéesh to all of the people who have contributed to make this happen.

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It All Began With a Vision of Healing

Yaa Naa Néx Kootéeyaa (Yah Nah NEX Koo-TEA-Uh), the Healing Totem Pole, stands at the head of the public dock in Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay National Park. Designed by tribal elders, culture bearers, artists and National Park Service staff, it compresses centuries of history into 20 feet of yellow cedar. It tells the story of the evolving relationship between the National Park Service and the Hoonah Indian Association. As our board president, Frank Wright, Jr (Pictured Above) would say in reference to our work in Glacier Bay, "Happiness Heals." Learn more on the Glacier Bay National Park website by clicking the link below. 

Building Home

"Spirituality means the feeling of the heart and the feeling of your ancestors"

-Frank Wright, JR. (HIA Board President)

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Preserving Our History

"If you know your history, you can direct your future."

-Nathan Moulton, Tribal Administrator

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The Place That We Call Home

Xunaa Shuká Hít  

On August 25th 2016, construction on Xunaa Shuká Hít was completed at a dedication ceremony was help in Glacier Bay National Park. For several people it was a return home after generations. Check out the video below to follow part of this amazing journey.

Seagull Egg Harvest

A tradition of the Tlingit people in Hoonah is the Seagull egg harvest from Glacier Bay. This sacred tradition reaches back to a time before written history. The people who live here cherish the richness and spiritual significance of this unique tradition. 

Interior Screen Timelapse 

The installation of the Interior Screen was a momentous occasion. Watch here to see it go up. 

Xunaa Shuká Hít Dedication Ceremony

The dedication of the of Xunaa Shuká Hít was a powerful event. From the hands that carved the house to the speakers who invited the presence of those who have gone before, those present, and the spirits of the Clans to co-inhabit this beautiful home.

Unveiling the Tribal House Screen

Lead Carver, Gordon Greenwald, presents the screen carved for Huna Shuka Hit. What an amazing time to see the vision of  the Ancestral Home come to life! 

Training for the Journey

We worked tirelessly to train for the rigorous journey home. The following video is a training trip that we made in wooden dug-out canoes. The physical nature of this only made the trip that much more special. 

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