• LingitX Haa Sateeyi, We Who Are Tlingit: Contemporary Tlingit Identity And The Ancestral Relationship To The Landscape

      Martindale, Vivian F.; Barnhardt, Ray (2008)
      Divergent views on the Tlingit ancestral relationship to the landscape of Southeast Alaska often leads to conflicts between Western-orientated government agencies, public entities, and the Tlingit people themselves. To better understand this subject, I collected nine personal narratives from research participants from within the Tlingit nation. The narratives provide insight into the dynamics at the intersection of conflicting worldviews, and the role this plays in shaping contemporary Tlingit identity. The results of exploring these diverging worldviews has illuminated three factors influencing contemporary Tlingit identity: the loss and struggle with maintaining the Lingit language, implementation of subsistence regulations and resultant conflicts, and diminishment of the ceremony called a koo.eex' (a memorial party). In addition, within the Tlingit worldviews there are oral histories, traditional values, and concepts such as balance, respect, and at.oow, which define ancestral relationships and identity. These findings also reveal that the means of imparting cultural knowledge and worldviews have changed. The narratives are organized into themes reflecting common factors: Residing in the ancestral landscape, Lingit language and thinking, the Tlingit artist and the ancestral relationship to the landscape, and contemporary Tlingit identity. The results demonstrate the significance of identity markers, such as the Lingit language, as a means for healing social trauma. Moreover, the lives of the Tlingit artists illustrate that maintaining an ancestral relationship utilizes both traditional and contemporary methods. In addition, the narratives provide documentation concerning the changes in a subsistence lifestyle that affect the social lives of the Tlingit in contemporary society.