October 8, 2013 Community Happenings

October Artifact of the Month: Iñupiaq masks

    Inupiaq masks are on display at the Sheldon Jackson Museum as its October Artifacts of the Month.
    The museum said that masks have historically been used for spiritual and non-spiritual purposes by the Iñupiaq and Yup’ik peoples, their southwestern neighbors.
    Masks were worn during dance festivals generally held to honor spirits of game animals important to daily life and, according to Ann Feinup-Riordan’s ‘‘Eskimo Essays,’’ were often discarded after a performance as new visions and new masks would replace them in succeeding years. They were also sometimes hung in houses to ward off harmful spirits, placed with the deceased, or used in non-spiritual contexts for entertainment purposes or for selling to Western customers.
    Masks intended to be used for ceremonial purposes were worn by shamans during consultation with their individual spirit helpers or guardian spirits. The carved designs on such masks were inspired by shamans’ visions or might take the form of their spirit helpers or traditional forms. Shamans often carved masks themselves but could commission someone else to carve designs.
    The August 1893 meeting minutes of the Alaska Natural History and Ethnological Society, the precursor to the Sheldon Jackson Museum says Miner Bruce gave six masks from Port Clarence to Sheldon Jackson. They were likely collected by him during his time as the first superintendent of the Teller Reindeer Station. Bruce served as superintendent of the government-operated reindeer station for one year and while in the region, collected a substantial number of masks in and around Port Clarence. After being fired from his post, likely due to his inability to get along with Captain Michael A. Healy of the U.S. Revenue Marine Service who was also involved in the station’s operations, he became a trader in western Alaska, traveling to widely scattered locations and collecting Iñupiaq material for resale.
    Bruce sold the majority of the material he collected, approximately 735 items, to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago in 1896 and 1897.
    Among the pieces Bruce sold to the Field Museum were hunting and fishing equipment including ice-hunting harpoons, whaling harpoon heads, float plugs, lance heads, seal scratchers, seal drags, arrows and spears for hunting birds; tools; household items such as baskets and buckets, dippers and dishes; examples of clothing, including mittens, women’s belts, and waterproof raincoats; kayaks, sledges, and other pieces related to transportation; and 25 wooden ceremonial dance masks.
    According to ‘‘The Bruce Collection of Eskimo Material Culture from Port Clarence,’’ published by the Field Museum of Natural History and written by former curator James W. VanStone, the provenance of the Bruce collection is “open to question” and supporting ethnographic materials is “minimal,” and lacking the scientific accuracy and attention to supporting data written by his contemporary collectors of the day working in the same region, including Edward Nelson and John Murdoch.
    The museum said that this is likely because Bruce had no scientific affiliation and was a trader with no intention of writing up his collection for publication. Collecting such information would have also been very challenging and time-consuming, even for someone with more expertise than Bruce because the presence of whaling ships and the reindeer attracted Iñupiaq and Yup’ik who brought materials from all over Alaska for trading.
    The masks will be on display through Oct. 31. Winter hours at the museum are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Discounted winter admission is $4. Visitors 18 years of age and younger, Friends of the Sheldon Jackson Museum, and those with passes are admitted free of charge.

    Scientist to Speak
    At Seminar Series
    Sitka Sound Science Center’s current Scientist in Residency Fellow Dr. Joe Cook will speak 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the UAS-Sitka Campus as part of the Natural History Seminar Series.
    Cook is professor of biology at the University of New Mexico where he also serves as director, curator of mammals, and curator of genomic resources at the Museum of Southwestern Biology.
    He was professor of biology and chief curator at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and was chair of the biology department at Idaho State University.
    His talk is titled “Island Life: A Mammalogist’s Perspective on What’s Cool About Living in Isolation on the Western Edge of North America.”

    AAS Board Meets
    Alaska Arts Southeast Inc. Board of Directors will meet in the Del Shirley Reception Room in Allen Hall 9:30 a.m. Oct. 12 for its annual meeting. The public is invited to attend.

    Set to Meet
    Sitka RESULTS will meet 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 12 at the Sitka Pioneers Home Manager’s House to hear the national conference call for global poverty advocates.
    The month’s speaker is Carol Nyirenda, a health activist from Lusaka, Zambia. Action will be on the challenges and opportunities for the Global Fund Replenishment. All are invited to take a friend and join other activists committed to making poverty history. Call Michele with questions, 752-0472.

    Sitka Hospital
    Foundation Meets
    The Sitka Community Hospital Foundation will meet noon Oct. 14 in the hospital classroom. Anyone interested in learning about the Foundation, or interested in joining, is encouraged to attend. Lunch will be provided from the Basement Bistro.
    The foundation’s purpose is to promote quality health care for all residents of Sitka through fundraising, education and support of Sitka Community Hospital. The foundation provides fundraising support for hospital growth.
    Those interested in attending may contact Ann Wilkinson, Foundation President, at 747-2707.

    T’akdeintaan Clan
    Party in Juneau
    Information concerning the T’akdeintaan clan party to be held in Juneau Oct. 26 has been released.
    Those planning to use Alaska Airlines are reminded to purchase tickets at least two weeks in advance. One-way rates are currently $80 to $94.
    Hotels and their current discounts are: GoldBelt Hotel, $79 a night, 907-586-6900; Baranof Hotel, $89 a night, 907-586-2660; Driftwood Motel, $80 a night with kitchenette, 907-586-2280, Prospector Hotel, $70 a night, 800-331-2711; and Super 8 Motel, $86 a night, 907-789-4858.
    The ferry Taku is scheduled to leave Sitka 7 p.m. Oct. 23 and leave Juneau 12:30 a.m. Oct. 29.
    The party is open to all Eagle Clan members and no invitation is required. For further information contact George at 738-3688.

    Story Time Meets
    Preschool story time at Kettleson Memorial Library is set 10:30 a.m. Oct. 10 and will feature “Celebrating Differences” in recognition of Disability Awareness Month.

    Students Enroll at
    Fort Lewis College
    Fort Lewis College is welcoming more than 1,300 new transfer and freshmen students to its Durango, Colo., campus for fall term.
    Among the new students are Sitka residents Rochelle Parker, majoring in business administration International Business Option; Raleigh Marsh, majoring in engineering; Helaina Bauder, undeclared; and Kristina Gibson, undeclared.

    White E Shop
    Meeting Slated
    The White Elephant Shop monthly meeting will be held 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Swan Lake Senior Center. All meetings are open to the public.
    ANB to Meet
    ANB Camp 1 will meet 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at the ANB Founders Hall to discuss final plans for Grand Camp to be held in Yakutat. All members are being encouraged to attend.

    Items Sought for
    Library Book Sale
    Kettleson Memorial Library welcomes donations of new or virtually new books, DVDs and CDs for the Alaska Day Library Sale, 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 18. Call the library with questions at 747-8708.

    Christmas Bazaar
    Tables Available
    Sitka Counseling is planning for its 33rd Annual Christmas Bazaar, to be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30 at Centennial Hall. Tables are available, but going fast, organizers said.
    To reserve a table, contact Kerry at 747-1417 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

    Halloween Topic
    Of Story Time
    ‘‘A Monstrous Story Time’’ will be the theme of the Preschool Story Time 10:30 a.m. Oct. 31 at Kettleson Library.
    ‘‘There was an Old Monster,’’ a book by Rebecca Emberley, will be one of the readings. Rhymes and a craft project will be part of the program. For more information, call the library at 747-8708.

    Tribal Elections
    Slated Nov. 12
    The Sitka Tribe of Alaska annual Tribal Council election will be held Nov. 12.
    Candidates may apply through Oct. 12. The election office has been established at the Sheet’ka Kwáan Naa Kahídi Community House. Candidates may pick up application forms and tribal citizens can request absentee ballots there Monday-Friday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. or by contacting Election Supervisor Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

    Emblem Club Meets
    Sitka Emblem Club will hold its monthly business meeting 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Elks Lodge.

    Rotary Accepts
    Applications for
    Youth Exchange
    The Sitka Rotary Club is accepting applications for the Rotary Youth Exchange program for the 2014-2015 school year.
    Students generally apply their sophomore year to spend their junior year abroad, but applications will be accepted from freshmen as well.
    Those accepted to the program will be sent to two orientations in Anchorage, where they will meet other students representing Alaska, and begin their training as a youth exchange student. Expenses are covered by the program.
    Applications are available in the Sitka High counseling office, and are due Oct. 24.
    Those with questions may call 738-0602.

    Rose Sale On
    The Sitka Rotary Club will be selling roses 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 11 and noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 12 at Sea Mart and Lakeside.
    Roses are $35 per dozen, and do not need to be ordered in advance.
    Proceeds go to support Rotary Club activities here and across the world, including the Bike Rodeo, Santa’s Helpers, pumpkin carving at the Pioneers Home, Kids Fishing Day, free dictionaries for 3rd graders, youth exchange and the Polio Plus campaign for eradicating polio worldwide.
    Those with questions may call Sharon at 738-2014.

    Sitkan to Present
    Wildlife Refuge
     Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges will hold a teleconference  5-6 p.m. Oct. 15.
    Individuals may participate by dialing 866-556-2149 code: 8169747#. Presentations may be downloaded prior to the teleconference by visiting www.alaskarefugefriends.org.
    Sitkan Alexis Will, master’s student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and recipient of a Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges scholarship, spent her third and final summer on St. Lazaria Island this year. Will will outline the major goals of her research, describe a “typical” day on the island, and share some of the fascinating findings that have resulted from her work and how these may apply to other seabird species.
    Will promises “gratuitous pictures, sound effects, and lots of rhino love” in her presentation.
    St. Lazaria Island is one of the 2,500 islands throughout Alaska that comprise the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Located 18 miles west of Sitka, it was originally designated as a refuge for seabirds in 1909, received official wilderness designation from Congress in 1970 and added to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge in 1980.
    Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges promote the conservation of all 16 Alaska National Wildlife Refuges through understanding and appreciation, assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and through outreach to decision makers.
    Contact Krisanne Rice, 747-4932 for further information.

    Artists at Library
    Island Institute artists-in-residence Ann Staley and Norman Campbell will host the third in a series of three lunch conversations 1:30 p.m. Oct. 10  at Yaw Chapel on Sheldon Jackson Campus about possibilities for collaboration between writers and artists.
     The event is free and lunch is provided. All are invited. For more information, call the Island Institute at 747-3794.

    Downtown Blocked
    Off For Alaska Day
    The downtown area will be blocked off for the Alaska Day Parade on Oct. 18.
    Sitka Police Department reminds motorists that the parade route will start at the roundabout. Assembly will be on Lake Street starting at around 12:30.
    Officers and cadets will be trying to block the downtown area early to remove the parked cars in the area, SPD said.
    The parade will proceed down Lincoln and around the left side of the church ending in the Totem Square area.  The tentative ending time will be 2:30 p.m.

    Seniors Invited to
    Free Barn Dance
    Sitka’s active seniors are invited to join a free barn dance activity each Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Swan Lake Senior Center.
    Call 747]3412 for more information.

    Bake Sale Saturday
    A bake sale is set 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Wells Fargo Bank lobby to benefit the Seattle Bag Pipers’ Alaska Day visit.

Login Form




At a Glance

(updated 5-25-22)

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 11:55 pm Wednesday, May 25.

New cases as of Wednesday: 1,911

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 251,425

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,252

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,776

Current Hospitalizations – 46

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "medium.'' Case statistics are as of Wednesday.

Cases in last 7 days – 25

Cumulative Sitka cases – 2,658

Hospitalizations (to date) – 32

Deceased (cumulative) – 6

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.





May 2002


From Sitka’s Past by Robert DeArmond: May 14, 1878 – The steamer California brought a cannery crew to Sitka for one of the first two salmon canneries in Alaska. The cannery, located at Starrigavan, operated for only two seasons and was abandoned.

May 1972

 The work of four Sitka artists will be represented in the Ketchikan Arts and Crafts Guild Traveling Show. The artists are Alice Bergdoll, Linda Larsen, Marilyn Nevers and Clint Miller.