Culture - Ha Kus Teyea (‘Our Way’) – is what defines the Teslin Tlingit. It is our collective and shared understanding of who we are: our knowledge, language, art, history and relationship to our environment. The Heritage Department delivers cultural programming to Teslin Tlingit Council Citizens and to the visiting public. Various cultural programs and workshops are offered by request and demonstrations are scheduled throughout the summer months.
Programming is intended to enrich the lives of Citizens and future generations through the preservation, teaching and reviving of traditional knowledge and Tlingit skills and artistry.
Ha Kus Teyea Celebration
As long as Tlingit people have lived on the shores of the big inland lakes, July has been a season of coming together and celebrating. A warm season where living for a short time was a little easier, a time to reconnect with family and friends to meet the new born, engage in courtships, tell stories and share in the bounty of the trapping and put the hardships of winter behind; a time to strengthen the ties of Tlingit Culture, Ha Kus Teyea.
Ha Kus Teyea Celebration brings Inland and Coastal Tlingit people together as well as visitors from around the world to celebrate. The Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre has hosted two Ha Kus Teyea Celebrations to date, in 2009 and 2011, which formed a continuation of that long and rich tradition of families and friends gathering and reconnecting through the sharing of traditional foods and culture in the warmth of the long sunny days of the Yukon summer.
For more information, visit the Ha Kus Teyea Celebration website.
Land-based cultural knowledge is documented, preserved and transferred to youth through culture camps offered each year which include beaver hunting and other harvesting camps.
Traditional Demonstrations and Workshops
Visual and performing arts activities at the Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre and within the community provide rich cultural experiences for Teslin Tlingit Council Citizens and tourists.
The Heritage Centre hosts traditional workshops and demonstrations, which include cedar bark weaving, Chilkoot weaving, ravenstail weaving, beading, moccasin making, hide working, animal skinning, saddlery, bentwood box making, carving, filleting, salmon smoking, and traditional food preserving.
In addition, traditional performances are showcased at the Heritage Centre. These include dancing, drumming and stick gambling demonstrations as well as the sampling of local cuisine.
Heritage Sites and Land-Based Heritage Resources
This new branch of the Heritage Department is currently in development. The Heritage Sites Officer will be responsible for managing land-based heritage resources in the Teslin Tlingit Traditional Territory through a series of activities which include the following.
- The support and management of related projects, and the seeking of funding.
- Participation in organizational activities such as strategic planning, internal and external communications, and administrative activities to help achieve the department’s overall mandate, strategic plan and work plans.
- Provision of resources to identify, preserve, manage and interpret heritage sites and buildings, historic trails, sacred and culturally significant places and resources.