David Galanin, 66, Dies; Was Tlingit Silver Carver



David Galanin

David J. Galanin was born in Sitka on January 18, 1955, and passed away unexpectedly in Puyallup, Washington, on December 18, 2021.

He lived most of his life in Sitka, with the exception of two years for education in Yakima, Washington; four years in New Zealand; and the past four years in Puyallup.

Over the course of his life, Dave worked at Alaska Lumber & Pulp Mill and Sheldon Jackson College. In 1982, he apprenticed under master silver carver and Tlingit elder Louis Menard at the Southeast Alaskan Indian Cultural Center in Sitka. He went on to teach silver carving techniques at the University of Alaska; give lectures and demonstrations at schools and universities; and lead Indigenous workshops to Maori across New Zealand, and in various museums, including the Sheldon Jackson Museum and SEAICC in Sitka.

Dave Galanin was of the Eagle Nest House of the Kaagwaantaan clan and was named Kindaa’. This name means “to be taken up with the eagles.” At a Koo. Eex’ (memorial party) in 1996, Dave also was given the name Dei Kee Tla Tin, which means “to be on a high point and look far out to sea.”

Dave carved in silver, copper, gold and semi-precious stones, completing commissions for private collectors through his business, Galanin Silverworks. These commissions include Shee Atika, Inc., Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Sitka Summer Music Festival, Sitka Fine Arts Camp, Alaska Veterans Hospital in Anchorage, Tai Rawhiti Polytech in Gisborne New Zealand, Baranof Island Housing Authority, Sitka Historical Society, and a piece funded by Rasmuson Foundation that is exhibited at Sitka High School.

Dave was an avid acoustic blues guitar player, using the stage name “Strummindog.” Over the years he performed in multiple locations and festivals, including Homeskillet Festival in Sitka, the Triple Door in Seattle, the Poverty Bay Blues Club in Gisborne, New Zealand, and many other venues. He enthusiastically enjoyed teaching guitar and “jamming out” with friends and fellow “bluesmen.”

He recorded four CD’s over the years and has left files of unfinished musical projects and an unknown number of guitars. He continued to keep in touch with his musician friends and fellow artists world-wide. His art work and music can be viewed and heard at his website www.galaninsilverworks.com.

Over the years, Dave provided what was lovingly known as “Dave care” to many of his grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Those who knew him remember his dry sense of humor and how he enjoyed a good laugh. Dave was most happy when “dragging a herring” out on a boat, playing music with his friends, or smokin’ a stogie.

His family loved to gather at his home on birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions to share a feast, play board games, and laugh.

Dave leaves behind his loving wife of 25 years, Margaret J. Galanin; his three sons, Jerrod Galanin (Brit), Nicholas Galanin (Merritt Johnson), Brandon Galanin (Krista); his daughter Natalie Galanin; and two step-children, Melissa Yelvington (Jason), and Drew Mochak (Jamie Barnard).

Collectively, he had 16 grandchildren – Nova, Scarlet, Elliott, Owen, Otsitsya, At Tugani, Kayden, Noelle, Levi, Madeleine, Jacob, Benjamin, Lucas, Arya, Ruby, and baby David.

He also leaves behind four siblings,  Myra Kodger, William Burkhart II (Jan), Lauren Estes (Charles) of Sitka, and Ted Burkhart (Roxanne) of Juneau. He also leaves numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and his Auntie Lorraine Chartrand.

Dave was preceded in death by his mother, Daisey Burkhart, and step-father William Burkhart Sr.; his grandparents, George and Mary Benson, and his beloved nephew Wade Winger.

Dave was known and loved by an incredible number of people, both near and far. He developed and maintained an abundance of deep relationships worldwide. He leaves a legacy for generations to come, with his art work, music, adult children, grandchildren, students, friends, and family who love him immensely. He will be greatly missed.


The family intends to have a celebration of his life in Sitka at a later date. Arrangements will be published in the Sentinel.

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At a Glance

(updated 8-17-22)

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 12:15 pm Wednesday, August 17.

New cases as of Wednesday: 1,444

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 277,007

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,296

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,843

Case Rate per 100,000 – 198.11

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

COVID in Sitka

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

Case Rate per 100,000 – 211.20

Cases in last 7 days – 18

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,022

Hospitalizations (to date) – 29

Deceased (cumulative) – 7

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






August 2002

 Electric department officials are asking Sitkans to conserve electricity over the next few days while the city recovers from a three-hour power outage caused by a mudslide knocking out a span of the main hydropower transmission line near Heart Lake.


August 1972

Legionnaires of the American Legion, Sitka Post No. 13, have been appointed to key committees in the state department. They are George H. Inman Jr., Carroll E. Kohler, Raymond C. Perkins and Edward J. Flynn.