Tribal elders participatie in a koo.eex’ or potlatch put on by the Herring Rock Water Protectors. (Courtesy Photo | Herring Rock Water Protectors)

Tribal elders participatie in a koo.eex’ or potlatch put on by the Herring Rock Water Protectors. (Courtesy Photo | Herring Rock Water Protectors)

Sitka Tribe revives Tlingit herring party

Celebration for herring.

A “Yaaw Koo.eex’,” or herring party, will take place next Saturday at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka by two groups concerned by the state of the sac-roe herring fishery there.

[Tribe takes state to court in attempt to protect herring]

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska and the Herring Rock Water Protectors are teaming up to put on the event, which spokesperson Louise Brady called “a celebration of the herring and in particular the young Kiks.ádi women.”

Several months ago the tribe filed a civil case against the Alaska Department of Fish and Game over the way it was managing the sac-roe herring fishery in Sitka Sound as herring levels have dipped. The case is ongoing.

The Yaaw Koo.eex’ is intended to mimic a Tlingit tradition that used to take place in present-day Sitka. Every year, large swaths of the Tlingit peoples flocked to the area for the sharing and enjoying of herring eggs.

[Planet Alaska: Woven with herring]

“They would camp out along all of the islands, that’s how plentiful the herring were here,” Brady said in a phone interview. “So in a small way, we’ve invited just a few paddlers, it’s almost an all-women canoe crew coming from Kake and Juneau and they will be paddling in from Old Sitka or what what we call Ghajáa Héen into the pullout by the (Harrington) Centennial Building.”

The paddlers will then walk to the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.


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