Photos: Juneau’s Celebration festival honors Southeast Alaska’s Indigenous cultures

Celebration, hosted by Sealaska Heritage Institute, is held every other year.

JUNEAU — One of Alaska’s largest cultural festivals drew crowds to Juneau this week for dancing, art, fashion, stories and more.

Celebration, a four-day festival of the Indigenous people of Southeast Alaska, is held every two years and features dozens of traditional and modern events. It’s hosted by Sealaska Heritage Institute, which calls it the largest gathering of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people in the world.

Dance groups throughout the region and beyond filled the schedule in two downtown halls on Friday. Others performed outside in the sunshine adjacent to an art market. Other events included a Native food contest and a boisterous fashion show.

Kyle Worl, coach of Juneau’s Native Youth Olympics team, demonstrated traditional Alaska Native games for attendees. Worl said he grew up attending Celebration and it remains important to his family.

“It brings everybody together. You see family. You see friends. Sometimes you see people that you haven’t seen since the last Celebration two years ago,” Worl said.

Breylan Naajeyistlaa Martin, one of the judges of the seaweed category of the Native food contest, said she was already looking forward to the next Celebration in 2026.

“It’s everything. It’s healing. It’s coming together with your community. It’s eating the best food ever. It’s growing the Native economy. And it’s a celebration,” Martin said. “It’s my favorite time of the year.”

Marc Lester

Marc Lester is a multimedia journalist for Anchorage Daily News. Contact him at