This composite photo shows Teacher of Distinction Daphne Wright, a longtime Hoonah teacher, and Person of Distinction Brian Wallace, a longtime photojournalist. Both were presented awards by Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Board of Directors during this year’s virtual Celebration 2020 broadcast. (Courtesy Photos | SHI)

This composite photo shows Teacher of Distinction Daphne Wright, a longtime Hoonah teacher, and Person of Distinction Brian Wallace, a longtime photojournalist. Both were presented awards by Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Board of Directors during this year’s virtual Celebration 2020 broadcast. (Courtesy Photos | SHI)

Sealaska Heritage honors Person and Teacher of Distinction during virtual Celebration

Longtime teacher and photojournalist feted.

Daphne Wright won a 2020 Teacher of Distinction award presented by Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Board of Trustees on Friday during SHI’s virtual Celebration 2020 broadcast, SHI announced.

Wright, a longtime Hoonah teacher, has taught at Hoonah City Schools for more than 35 years, and according to SHI, has been a force for integrating Native language, protocols, traditions and history into classes.

“Daphne has done a tremendous job in serving our people through her teaching in Hoonah schools and her contributions to the revitalization of our Tlingit language,” said SHI President Rosita Worl in a video played during the program.“Through her work, she has truly changed lives.”

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SHI virtually presented Wright with a cedar award embedded with a copper tináa in addition to a wool “Blanket of Knowledge” during the broadcast.

The award came through the Preparing Indigenous Teachers and Administrators for Alaska Schools program, a scholarship program at the University of Alaska Southeast that is largely funded by SHI. The PITAAS “Teacher of Distinction” award includes a $3,000 prize which will go to Hoonah City Schools.

Wright has been a longtime learner of the Tlingit language, according to SHI, and she has passed that knowledge to her students. She has also played a large role in developing Tlingit lesson plans that are used to teach the language. Sealaska Heritage uses her curricula material that she developed and amassed over the years.

Person of distinction named, too

Longtime Tlingit photojournalist Brian Wallace won the 2020 Person of Distinction award presented by Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Board of Trustees on Thursday during the SHI’s virtual Celebration 2000 broadcast, SHI announced.

In a video played during the program, SHI President Rosita Worl noted Wallace’s many years spent documenting Celebration since the first event was held in 1982. She also thanked Wallace for his donations of archival materials and ethnographic objects to SHI, including tools and formline designs made by his father, the late Amos Wallace, who is credited for helping to keep Northwest Coast ancient practices alive at a time when the knowledge was in danger of being lost.

Wallace has also donated hundreds of old photos to SHI depicting important events in Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian history.

SHI virtually presented Wallace with a cedar award embedded with a copper tináa in addition to a wool “Blanket of Knowledge” during the broadcast.

Wallace documented Celebration for the Juneau Empire for three decades before being named SHI’s official Celebration photographer in 2008. His photos of Celebration are featured in many public places — most recently at the American Museum of Natural History, which is curating an educational panel about Native Northwest Coast people.

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