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Alaska Beat

Radio station gifts historic archives to Sealaska Corp. (+video)

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published October 1, 2012

Radio station KSTK-FM has donated hundreds of audio recordings to Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) in Juneau, according to a Sealaska press release. The recordings are between 20 and 50 years old, some dating as far back as 1960, and document history, events and happening in the community of Wrangell, in Southeast Alaska.

The collection includes interviews and talk shows, and covers a broad range of themes, including cultural, historical and ecological information. Many of the recordings touch on topics of interest to Native communities, academics and others who are keen to learn more about life in Southeast Alaska.

SHI Archivist and Collection Manager Zachary Jones said:

(These recordings are) especially great for Sealaska Heritage Institute because (they) documents a portion of the Native community—the community's concerns, their culture, their language, their history and their art. But the collection is also really important because it documents the wider community of Wrangell, not just the Native community, and that's important, too.

Included in the collection's estimated 2,000 reels are recordings of the late noted Tlingit Elder Walter Soboleff, Native artists, influential individual Esther Shay as well as others like the mayor of Wrangell and Congressman Don Young.

Sealaska Trustee Ethel Lund of Wrangell points out there is a very limited amount of archival content centered on Wrangell and that this new collection will serve the city's history very well.

The recordings must be digitalized before they are available for use. They will be housed at Sealaska Plaza, which is open to the public.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit in Juneau. It was founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity, solidarity and outreach in the area. For more on Sealaska visit its website here.

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