GREEN LIGHT – Karen Lucas works in her Katlian Street garden this afternoon. Warm sunny weather this spring has been a boon for local gardeners. The Farmers' Almanac is predicting this summer will be warmer than normal, with the hottest period in early July. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

December 16, 2015 Community Happenings


NW Coast Silver Spoons

On Display at SJ Museum

The Sheldon Jackson Museum’s December Artifacts of the Month are eight 19th century Northwest Coast silver spoons.

Half of the spoons were donated by the late former curator and Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum board member Peter Corey. The examples of Alaska souvenir spoons speak to the insatiable passion and enthusiasm for collecting prevalent among many American Victorian era households and Native silversmiths’ significant contributions to the flatware curio trade and decorative arts. 

All of the spoons are engraved with either bear or salmon figures; some have dates; and six out of the eight have the word “Sitka” engraved on them. The variety in style ranges from realistic-looking designs with only minimal Northwest Coast stylistic elements to significant formline motifs with many ovoids, split u forms, u forms, and geometric triangles, crescents, diamonds, chevrons, and cross hatching. While the salmon have delineated scales, gills, fins and lateral lines, the bear figures are far more stylized, practically grinning, museum staff said. 

Though none of the December Artifacts of the Month were engraved with an artist’s name, five were attributed to Tlingit artist Rudolph Walton by Peter Corey. Corey, a Northwest Coast silver enthusiast, based his attributions on the style of script – Walton frequently separated the letter “a” from the other letters when he engraved the word “Sitka”; the years engraved on the spoons (ranging from 1892 to 1897, all years Walton was active in Sitka); and formline details, including the kinds of hatch marks and slightly rectangular ovoids typically employed by Walton. Also significant are the repousse ears, eyes, brows, nose, and mouths – common in Walton’s work and present in the bears’ faces. 

Silver was not a common traditional material for Alaska Native artists. Copper extracted from along the Copper and Chitina Rivers was the first metal worked by Alaska Natives and trade in the precious metal was controlled by the Tlingit. Silver in the form of Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese coins came to the Northwest Coast in the 1740s and may have been given by foreigners as gifts or special compensation but was generally a very scarce commodity. Once silver became readily available in the 1860s in the form of American silver coins, it was substituted for copper, iron, and brass used earlier, and transformed into silver blanket pins, lip pins, nose rings, and status-conveying bracelets.

The silver spoon was not yet part of the Northwest Coast artist’s repertoire, but came about within decades as steamship tourists, inspired by Victorian romantic misconceptions of “vanishing Indians” and in search of “authentic,” portable souvenirs for the home arrived to the Northwest Coast eager to purchase Native-made curios. 

By the early 1880s, almost every village along the Northwest Coast had Native carvers working silver and crafting jewelry. Setting up shop was relatively easy. To work silver, artisans required only a few simple tools including an anvil, hammer, wooden mold, two or three engraving tools made from pieces of files or knife blades, a whetstone, a piece of dogfish skin for smoothing, and fine clay or deer skin for polishing. 

The Sheldon Jackson Museum has nearly 150 examples of Northwest Coast 19th century silver, including spoons, forks, sugar tongs, butter knives, bracelets, and even a silver napkin ring made by renowned Haida artist Charles Edenshaw. The December Artifacts of the Month will be exhibited until Dec. 31 and can be seen 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The museum is closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays. General admission is $3 and free for those 18 and under or members of either the Friends of the Sheldon Jackson Museum or Friends of the Alaska State Museum.


Green Business

Nominations On

Sitkans can ‘‘give the gift of ‘green’ this Christmas’’ by shopping locally and nominating a local business, agency, not-for-profit group, school or other entity for 2016 Sitka Green Business Awards, says the the Sitka Global Warming Group.

Using “green” business practices, like conserving energy, recycling, carpooling, buying local, serving organic and local foods, or encouraging use of reusable bags, cups, or plates, saves businesses money, increases community sustainability, and benefits the environment, the organization said.

‘‘Whether you are a customer, employee, or business owner, you can recognize and thank a local business for supporting Sitka this past year by filling out a simple nomination form at www.sitkaglobalwarming.org. Nominations are due by Jan. 30, 2016,’’ said Michelle Putz of the SGWG.

Those with questions may call Putz at 747-2708.


SNHP Accepting


Sitka National Historical Park is accepting applications for park guide and park ranger positions for the summer season. The full-time temporary appointments are expected to last from approximately April through September. 

Application packets are available on the door at 103 Monastery Street, by contacting the park at 747-0107, or by downloading the application at http://www.nps.gov/sitk/getinvolved/workwithus.htm. All applications must be postmarked or received by 5 p.m. on Jan. 5. 


Christmas Eve

Service at St. Peter’s

St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church invites the community to Christmas Eve worship service on Dec. 24.

The service will begin 6:30 p.m.Dec. 24  with 30 minutes of pre-service musical offerings. The church is located at 611 Lincoln Street.


Chronic Pain

Meeting on Tap

December’s monthly meeting of Chronic Pain and Illness Support Group will be noon-1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, in the Sitka Community Hospital downstairs classroom. 

Attendees can take their lunch or purchase one at the hospital’s Bistro Cafeteria. This month’s meeting will focus on how to survive the holiday season, reasonably intact. 

Those who have a friend or family member who suffers from chronic pain can learn how to help and support them through this busy time of the year, organizers said. Help might include writing addresses on Christmas cards for those who have arthritis, cooking and delivering a meal, or shopping for gifts for them to give.


Benefit Dinner

For Sitkan Set

A benefit dinner to help Sitka resident Carol Breece with medical expenses is planned 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, at the Sitka Moose Lodge.

Dinner will include pork chop suey, sesame chicken, steamed rice and crispy wontons for $20 a person. It is sponsored by Loyal Order of Moose.

Free delivery may be arranged by calling 747-4655. Events held at the Moose Lodge are for  members and invited guests. 






Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 5-28-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 10:55 a.m. Thursday.

New cases as of Wednesday: 13

Total statewide – 425

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 46, and the cumulative number of deaths is 10.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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