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.
Teslin Tlingit culture formed through a history of movement from the coast to the interior. The coastal Tlingit culture of southeast Alaska was brought inland some three hundred years ago. Although the Inland Tlingit integrated with their Athapaskan neighbours, Tlingit traditions, culture and social patterns remained strong, and are alive today. Today, Inland Tlingit and Coastal Tlingit people share in the celebration of Tlingit culture through the Ha Kus Teyea Celebration.
Expressions of Teslin Tlingit culture are found in both material arts and performing arts, including acting, drumming and dancing. The Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre showcases Teslin Tlingit art through its collections of carved masks, bentwood boxes, beadwork, snowshoes, hide and cloth garments, paintings, gaming pieces, and ceremonial regalia.
There is a vibrant and prolific community of Teslin Tlingit artists today involved in film-making, carving, beading, painting, garment making, button blanket making, and more. Local artisans are encouraged and supported by Teslin Tlingit Council through workshops and mentorship programs.
Cranberries, beaver, moose, salmon, among others, are all part of a rich harvesting tradition for Teslin Tlingit people. Elders’ traditional knowledge of harvesting is passed on to Tlingit youth through annual harvest camps.