In March I visited the Portland Art Museum along with some clan relatives and Aandeyein to view and handle Naanyaa.aayí at.óowu, Teikhweidi at.óowu and Raven (probaly Kiks.ádi) at.óowu dating back to the 1800’s. NAGPRA claims are in process or planned for many of these objects to return them to their ancerstral homes in Lingít Aaní. These items are our title to the land and proof of our legitimacy as sovereign Tlingit clans.
The process of assimilation was strong and deliberate during the 1800’s and 1900’s. Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people were forced to give up clan allegiances and our tribal way of life in order to receive the protection of the United States government. Our at.óowu was seperated from the people and placed in museums, symbolically burying our culture alive. Returning these objects to their respective clans is a reversal of this process and a revolutionary act.