Helen Alten, Cultural Department Director, is the former Director of the Haines Sheldon Museum, which she led for 6.5 years. She has degrees in Classical Archaeology, and Archaeological Conservation and Materials Science. She wrote the grants to fund the new cultural and language programs. She has worked with tribes throughout the United States since 1986 on NAGPRA, collections storage and care, construction of cultural centers, and training staff for cultural centers. She has taught workshops and consulted with Alaska tribes since 1989 when she worked as the State Conservator for the Alaska State Museum. Since then she provided workshops for the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO), the Smithsonian Institution Museum of the American Indian, and Keepers of the Treasures in South Dakota. As a material scientist she is fascinated by how cultural heritage objects are made and used. In 1993 she published an education article for the Materials Research Society, “Interweaving Traditional and Modern Science for Adult Education,” describing how basketry cleaning and repair workshops in Alaska taught biology, chemistry and physics to adult learners. She has a passion for the material culture of our area and wants to see its production become a viable economic generator for Jilkoot Aani.
Cindy Price-Hagwood, Education Coordinator, joined CIA in May 2022. A member of the talented Price family, she will develop community and school workshops based on three annual themes: Year 1-Formline; Year 2-Carving; Year 3-Weaving.
“My name is Kaayi. I am called Cindy in English. I am of the Kaagwaantaan, Eagle/Wolf moiety. Our clan house is called Eagles’ Nest House. I am a child of the Gaanaxteidi Xi’xch’I Hit, Raven/Frog House. I was born and raised in Lkoot Aani, land of the Chilkoots. I live in Deishu, called Haines on maps.
Although I moved out of the state in 1993, I stayed connected. When my father passed away in 2004, I knew I needed to come back to Alaska. During one of my visits home I reconnected with my high school sweetheart, Craig Hagwood. It was love at second sight! I moved back to Deishu in 2015 and the first thing I did was marry that great guy! We are so grateful to live in this beautiful place we call home.
Once I found my footing I started engaging and learning my culture, art, crafts, protocols, being respectful and honoring those that went before me. I enjoy subsistence fishing, harvesting, fish packing and processing. Learning to sing, dance, make moccasins, harvesting, and providing for elders has grounded me. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for being blessed abundantly.
When I was hired by Chilkoot Indian Association to work in the Culture Department, I was a little apprehensive, but it has been so fun. I feel like just being around the culture and the people who work here has rounded the corners of who I am. I am creating events that teach our people skills and the cultural understanding of who we are and where we came from. It is in our DNA. Seeing the investment in our culture and the revitalization has been inspiring. Getting people engaged and excited about their indigenous heritage, being a small part of a bigger grassroots movement, is humbling.
Gunalchéesh to the elders who came before me, making the way.”
Marsha Hotch was hired in September 2022 as Language Project Manager. She is a fluent Tlingit birth speaker and has been at the forefront of Tlingit language revitalization work for nearly 20 years.
Jessie Morgan is the part-time Language Apprentice, bulding her language skills through one-on-one work with Marsha Hotch as well as assisting with language classes and activities.
Aurora Alten-Huber, Resilient Alaska Youth AmeriCorps member, is serving with CIA for the next 11 months. She will provide regular activities, programming, and support for youth ages 10-18. She is excited to give back to the community that has been her home for eight years.