Last modified: 2012-11-17 by rick wyatt
Keywords: tlingit | haida | alaska | native american | first nation |
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image by Donald Healy, 1 February 2008
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy
Tlingit and Haida - Alaska
Two of the best known Nations in Alaska are the Tlingit and the Haida. Their traditional lands span the international boundaries that separate Alaska from the Canadian province of British Columbia. On the United States side of their lands, these Tribes inhabit the Alaskan panhandle and the coastal islands that string out off that strip of land.
As with their brethren further south, the Tlingit and Haida people are amongst the greatest Native woodcarvers in the Americas. The penultimate example of the artwork of the Tlingit and Haida people may be found just outside many traditional wooden plank homes - the totem pole.
© Donald Healy 2008
The distinctive style of carving exemplified by the totem pole can be seen in the design of the flag of the Tlingit and Haida Central Council. That flag is white bearing their unusually shaped seal in the center. The edge of the seal is almost rectangular, with the two upper corners rounded off. The black line used to form the outer edge varies in width, getting heavier and heavier as it rises from a very narrow baseline.
Within this border is a central map of Alaska shown in dark blue, just like the color of the Alaskan state flag. Flanking the map, and overlapping it with their beaks are two supporters, the eagle and the raven. These birds, shown in a reddish-brown and in the style of the Tlingit and Haida carving, represent the two clans of the Tlingit lands. Such birds also figure heavily in the mythology and tribal lore of most Tribes in the northwest. Arcing over the central device are the Tribes' names "Tlingit and Haida" in a distinctive black script, while underneath the device appears the words Central Council. On either side of the emblem are rows of five details that look like deer prints. These details are shown in the same reddish-brown as the two totem birds.
© Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 1 February 2008