Tlingit & Haida welcome their new Director of Cultural Heritage and Education

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Image courtesy of T&H

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) — The Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (T&H) is pleased to announce the appointment of Vicki Sobolev as Director of Cultural Heritage and Education to be based in Lynnwood, Washington.

This additional administrative position was created to support the cultural and educational needs of our tribal citizens in Washington.

As Director of Cultural Heritage and Education, Soboleff will collaborate with tribal programs and partners to support Southeast Alaskan Native languages, arts, and cultural education and preservation initiatives. It will also develop a cultural service plan to identify resources and opportunities to increase the ability of the tribe to build classes, activities, and events that support citizens and tribal communities.

“We are delighted to be able to provide cultural heritage teaching and education in the Seattle area, and that Ms. Sobolev has accepted this position with the Tribe,” said Amelia Rivera, Senior Director of the Division of Cultural Heritage and Education. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and her work to elevate our culture and revitalize traditions, while instilling pride in our community is unparalleled.”

Sobolev is Haida, Yak’Laanas and Raven/Double Fin Killerwhale from Brown Bear House and adopted into Kiks.adi clan (Raven/Frog) from Tinaa Hit, (Copper Shield) House and Gaagaan Hit, (Sun House).

Its Haida names are Hiilunjaat and Tl’aakahlwaas and its Tlingit names are Shxaasti and Kukak.

She was born in Seattle, Washington and raised in Ketchikan, Alaska.

She has an extensive background in finance and accounting, and prior to accepting this position, was Grants Director for the Tulalip Tribes in Washington. Sobolev also worked for 13 years with Sealaska as a management accountant and corporate controller.

“I am delighted to join the Department of Cultural Heritage and Education in Tlingit and Haida,” Sobolev said. “I look forward to opening the building and running the Linwood cultural heritage and education program. I am very excited about the possibility of coordinating cultural opportunities for our tribal citizens living in the Washington area.”

Sobolev is an artist, performer, educator, and educator who has founded dance groups and conducted many youth outreach and mentorship programmes. She has been mentored by master weavers and language bearers, including Selina Peratrovich and Dolores Churchill in Haida basketry, Julia Fawcett in loafers, Beatrice Starkweather in traditional beadwork, and Cheryl Samuel and Kay Parker in Ravenstail weaving.

President Richard Chaley Peterson said he was excited to engage Vicki with her years of experience and passion for educating and uplifting people through our culture.

“We have over 7,400 tribal citizens in Washington and know there is growing interest in the Tlingit and Haida to support more cultural and educational opportunities,” said Chief Peterson. Our communities and tribal citizens thrive when our culture is our foundation. Vicki has really done such a great job in Washington because she knows our culture gives us strength.”

Chief Peterson also said that this is part of a larger Tlingit & Haida effort to meet tribal people where they are.

“We are committed to finding ways to better serve our communities and our citizens. By working together, we can build a stronger, more connected society,” said President Peterson.

Sobolev has received numerous awards for her work, including the Tlingit & Haida Culture Carrier Award which recognized her dedication to perpetuating and preserving our culture and upholding traditional knowledge through practice and teaching.

A workspace for cultural classes and activities is scheduled to open at the beginning of September in Lynnwood, Washington. More information will be announced at a later time.