Tending Endangered Roots: The Heritagization and Reinvigoration of Southeast Alaska Native Art

Ben Bridges (Indiana University Bloomington)

Southeast Alaska has undergone an artistic surge in the past few decades as heritage institutions seek to establish a globally renowned Alaska Native art scene. Traditional art forms—especially those classified as “endangered,” like spruce root weaving and mountain goat horn spoon carving—are made increasingly available to the interested public via classes, workshops, and growing art markets. Grounded in ethnographic data, this paper explores how the institutionalization of Alaska Native arts simultaneously sustains such practices amidst economic and ecological ruptures while also illuminating issues of access, socioeconomic inequality, and contested understandings of “tradition” among Native communities in Southeast Alaska.

Part of 02-11 Replanting Roots: Sustaining and Reviving Indigenous Knowledges and Practices, Thursday, November 02, 10:30 am–12:30 pm