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Museums - NASP Instructor Bios

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Brita Alander

Haida artist Brita Alander has been creating Northwest Coast art for over twenty years, teaching youth as a guest instructor at Ketchikan High School and Schoenbar Middle School. Brita teaches Northwest Coast design with an array of activities and a final painted panel project for the Native Arts Studies Programs' Spring Break class.


David Robert Boxley 

David Robert Boxley is an esteemed Tsimshian artist from Metlakatla, Alaska. From his early youth, David Robert began carving under the instruction of his father, renowned carver David Albert Boxley, and also began to travel around the United States to assist his father in raising totem poles and teaching people about Tsimshian culture. In 1982, David Robert’s father held the first potlatch in his village of Metlakatla in modern times. At twenty years of age, David Robert followed in his father’s footsteps by being the first of his generation to hold his own potlatch and has hosted four more since. From 2009-2011, David Robert carved alongside Haida artist Robert Davidson, and with his guidance, David Robert has honed his craft to compare with the very best in Northwest Coast art. He continues to express the love and respect he has for Tsimshian culture through his art, cultural performance and teaching. In addition to carving full-time, every year David Robert and his father lead their dance group, the Git-Hoan Dancers, in performances around North America. David Robert’s works are carried in the top Northwest Coast art galleries in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Ketchikan and Anchorage.
 

Delores Churchill

World-renowned Haida master weaver Delores Churchill learned to weave spruce root from her mother, weaver and culture-bearer Selina Peratrovich. She has been instrumental in revitalizing weaving throughout the region and is a recognized expert in gathering and preparing traditional materials. Her dedication to research and sharing her knowledge has taken her to museums and institutions around the globe and her work to strengthen Northwest Coast art has received numerous international honors. Among many other awards, Delores Churchill is the recipient of the National Basketry Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Endowment of the Arts' Lifetime Fellowship Award, the Rasmuson Foundation's Lifetime Fellowship Award, the Connie Boochever Fellowship Award, the Governor’s Award for the Arts, the First People’s Community Spirit Award, the University of Alaska Southeast Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, and the Alaska State Legislative Award in recognition of commitment to Native Art.


Holly Churchill

Holly Churchill is a member of the Haida Eagle clan of Gawa Git’ans Gitanee practicing traditional Haida-style cedar bark basketry. She is the granddaughter of Selina Peratrovich and daughter of Delores Churchill, internationally renowned weavers instrumental to the preservation of Haida weaving. Holly continues to pass this time-honored weaving knowledge to her family as has been done for centuries. She has contributed to the revival of creating pre-contact Haida cedar bark garments now in use by dance groups and has been displayed at museums throughout Alaska, the Smithsonian Institute, the Eiteljorg Museum, and others. Holly has taught Northwest Coast weaving to students of all ages at the Totem Heritage Center since 1986 in addition to other institutions and in schools. She is an incredible teacher who shows tireless devotion to helping her students gain skills through hands-on project-based classes while developing an appreciation of Northwest Coast Native cultures and the context for weaving practices. Holly has taught Spring Break cedar bark weaving class for youth annually, teaching students ages ten to eighteen to weave. In all of her classes she works with students to develop a project that excites and motivates them to learn new skills and guides them through each step to complete a finished piece they are proud of. Holly’s teaching style is truly inspired. Her lifelong commitment to developing her own artistry while also challenging others to do the same through her dedication to teaching has ensured the continuation of a vibrant and integral piece of Haida culture. 
 

Mike Dangeli

Mike Dangeli is of the Nisga’a, Tlingit, Tsetsaut, and Tsimshian Nations. He belongs to the Beaver Clan and carries the names Goothl Ts’imilx (Heart of the Beaver House) and Teettlien (Big Wave). Since childhood, Mike has been training under the leaders of his family to be the Simoget (hereditary chief) of his clan among the Nisga’a. Striving to expand his understanding of and ability in carving, painting and design, Mike always honors opportunities to learn from many Master Carvers including: Beau Dick, Simon Dick, Robert Davidson, Reg Davidson, Henry Greene, Lyle Campbell, and many others. He has also held two major apprenticeships with Master Carvers: Randy Adams, and David Boxley. Also contributing greatly to his work is the regularly returning home to Northern BC and Alaska where he continues to learn oral histories, songs, dances, and protocols from his Nisga’a, Tsimshian, and Tlingit elders. Mike’s works include masks, drums, regalia, paintings, and limited edition silk-screened prints. In 2007, Mike completed twelve totem poles and a thirty-foot ocean going canoe, and more recently carved six totem poles for Luma Native Housing Children’s Village in Vancouver, BC.  Mike is also an accomplished singer, songwriter, and dancer. He has had the honor of dancing with The Prince Rupert Nisga’a Dancers, The Tsimshian Haayuuk Dancers, the Git Hoan Dancers, The Rainbow Creek Dancers, and the Daka Kwaan.


Wayne Hewson

Wayne Hewson's carving career began in 1967 in a boarding school in Wrangell, when he used a pocketknife and a bar of soap to carve a beaver.  Since then, he has completed more than 12 totem poles. Hewson has periodically apprenticed with master carver David Boxley beginning in 1990, and helped carve poles that stand in Knotts Berry Farm in California, locations throughout Washington State, Metlakatla and the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center in Ketchikan.  Wayne Hewson also spent several summers on the cruise ship World Explorer as the onboard demonstration carver.  He created a totem pole from start to finish in one of his seasons onboard.  Hewson has taught a variety of carving classes in Metlakatla, including paddles, plaques, soapberry spoons and box drums.  He currently carves at the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary in Ketchikan and presents information on the artform and cultural traditions to seasonal visitors.  He has carved several poles that stand prominently at the Sanctuary’s entrance.
 

Dorica Rockwell Jackson

Dorica Jackson attended the University of Washington as an art major and quickly discovered weaving. One of her professors suggested she take a class in Northwest Coast Indian Art to get some more exposure to different design elements, and she became very interested in the art and culture. Upon hearing that Chilkat weaving was almost a lost art, she decided to tackle that art form.  In 1975 Dorica was commissioned by the National Park Service to weave a full sized Chilkat dance robe, which was to be woven while "on display" to visitors at the Sitka Historical National Monument in Sitka, Alaska.  After completion of the robe, she became more focused on motherhood and raising their two children, but she always had a Chilkat weaving project going in the background. During the 1980s, she worked on a dance apron, in the 1990s did a lot of teaching at the Totem Heritage Center, hoping to encourage others to get more involved in learning and creating Chilkat weavings.  All the passing years were interspersed with opportunities to demonstrate as she accompanied husband Nathan Jackson on various projects. She completed a robe for Nathan in 2001 and completed her third robe in 2018 while also working full time as a bookkeeper and office manager.


Nathan Jackson

Nathan Paul Jackson was born into the Sockeye Clan on the Raven side of the Chilkoot-Tlingit tribe. He was raised in Southeastern Alaska, spending most of his time in the Haines area. Much of his early education in his Tlingit heritage was conducted by his clan uncle and grandfather. Upon completion of his military service in Germany in 1959, Nathan returned to Alaska. After two years of carving and commercial fishing, he enrolled in the Institute of American Indian arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There he specialized in fabric design, silk screen, and graphics. In 1964, Jackson completed his work at the Institute and returned to Haines, where he began working with Alaska Indian Arts, Inc., and taught wood block and silk screen techniques for Manpower Development. He also became a member of the Chilkat dancers. Since 1967, Nathan Jackson has been a freelance artist doing traditional style woodcarving, jewelry, and design. Jackson has instructed woodcarving, design, and other traditional arts at several institutions, has supervised and trained numerous apprentice artists, and has served as a consultant to the Alaska State Museum, the University of Alaska, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the Totem Heritage Center, among other institutions. Jackson’s artwork is held by every major museum in the state of Alaska. In addition, his work in the collections of other museums and private collectors throughout North America, as well as in Europe and Japan. He was invited to demonstrate his art at Expo ‘88 in Brisbane, Australia and the 1991 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. He also has work in many public and private buildings throughout Alaska, including the Juneau Empire building and several airports, and was also heavily involved in the totem park and tribal house in Saxman, Alaska. In 1988, Nathan Jackson was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree by the University of Alaska, Southeast. In 1995 he was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship Award, and in 2009, he received the Rasmuson Foundation’s Distinguished Artist Award. 


Stephen Jackson 

Stephen Jackson is a visual artist who lives and works between what are currently called Alaska and New York. His work reflects examinations into the limits and viability of desires for indigenous growth.  He began carving in Saxman with his father, Tlingit artist Nathan Jackson, from the Lukaax.ádi Clan of the Lkóot Kwáan.  He was adopted into the Dakl’aweidí Clan of the Jilkáat Kwáan and worked as a visual artist as Jackson Polys and Stron Softi. He was featured in solo exhibitions at the Alaska State Museum and the Anchorage Museum before receiving a B.A. in Art History and Anthropology and an MFA in Visual Arts, both from Columbia University, where he taught from 2016-17.  During this time, he was an advisor to Indigenous New York, the collaborative program initiative co-founded by Mohawk artist Alan Michelson and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.  He is recipient of a 2017 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Mentor Artist Fellowship.  His individual and collaborative works reside in collections at the Burke Museum, City of Ketchikan, City of Saxman, Field Museum, Goldbelt, and the Übersee Museum-Bremen and have been exhibited at Artists Space, Hercules Art/Studio Program, the James Gallery, Ketchikan Museums, and the Sundance Film Festival.


Jebidiah Knutsen

Jebidiah Knutsen began practicing the carpentry trade at a very early age, learning from his carpenter father during his youth in Montana.  Jebidiah moved to Ketchikan in 2009. As a kayak and zipline guide at Southeast Exposure he led groups of all ages and abilities and was responsible for the safety of adventuring visitors.  He graduated from the Ketchikan Construction Academy in 2011, and has been working locally as a professional carpenter ever since. Jebidiah has completed many local building projects, and was part of building the new drive-up State Parks cabin at Settlers Cove in 2015. Jebidiah is an avid log furniture builder in addition to taking several Northwest Coast carving classes at the Totem Heritage Center. 
 

Debbie Frank-McLavey  

Haida, is from the Double headed Eagle moiety and belongs to the Frog, Beaver, Black fish  clan from Hydaburg.  She has dedicated herself to learning and preserving traditional art forms of the Haida’s.  She has learned the traditional way of making Regalia; button robes, moccasins, leather dresses & tunic and aprons; cedar bark, spruce root & Ravenstail & Chilkat weaving & spinning merino wool.  She is teaching at Ketchikan High School Native Art for the past few years and is teaching weaving & regalia making in hopes that the students will be graduating in full regalia that they made in her class.  She is also a co-leader of the Haida Descendant Dancers since 1999 organizing, fundraising, and teaching members weaving & regalia making to be able to be in compliance with the group.  She also taught through the Alaska Native Museum of Anchorage for Holland America teaching the youth songs & dance & sewing regalia.  And, also traveled as a demonstrator for Holland America. 


Fred Trout

Fred Trout, whose Tlingit heritage comes from his father who is L’eeneidi (Dog Salmon) on the Raven side of Auk’w Kwaan Tribe, Juneau, is an accomplished carver and Northwest Coast artist. Fred completed a three-year course study at the Totem Heritatge Center earning a Certificate of Merit in carving. He apprenticed with Master Tlingit Carver Nathan Jackson, working on a 30-foot totem pole, Honoring Those Who Give, a commemorative pole that stands outside the Totem Heritage Center. Fred has also studied with Tlingit Carvers Ernie Smeltzer, and Rick Beasley; Haida Artist Reggie Davidson; Tsimshian Carver David Boxley; and Steve Brown. Fred Trout uses Red Cedar, Yellow Cedar and Alder to create carved and painted bentwood boxes, paddles, masks and Totem poles. 


Evelyn Vanderhoop 

Evelyn Vanderhoop is a contemporary Haida weaver carrying on the techniques perfected by her ancestors. Originally from Ketchikan, now living in Washington, Vanderhoop is the daughter of renowned Haida weaver Delores Churchill.  She learned both Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving from her mother and Cheryl Samuel. Evelyn Vanderhoop's projects and commissions include her recently completed Chilkat robe, a collaborative Ravenstail robe with Delores Churchill, a curve-style Chilkat dance apron, three curve-style Ravenstail dance aprons, and a button robe detailed with Ravenstail weaving on three borders. Prior to becoming an accomplished Ravenstail and Chilkat weaver, Evelyn Vanderhoop was an award-winning watercolor artist, as well as judge and exhibitor. Evelyn Vanderhoop teaches the art of Ravenstail weaving at the Totem Heritage Center, the Fish Stick School of Basketry in Washington, and in the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia.