In Lḵoot, Haines, in the fall of 1986, Austin Hammond—Daanawáaḵ, Gunx̱aa G̱uwakaan—presented the at.óow of the Lukaax̱.ádi to demonstrate their sacred ties to the land. He told the history of how the Lukaax̱.ádi acquired the sockeye salmon as a crest, and how they came to own much of the Lḵoot area. He also showed the G̱eisán (Mt. Ripinsky) tunic, and spoke of the Haines totem pole which depicts Naas Shagi Yéil, Raven at the Head of the Nass River. Austin made a point that if we understand our history, then we are more capable of fighting for our rights. He implored the people to fight for their grandchildren. This presentation was documented by Nora Marks Dauenhauer—Ḵeixwnéi, also of the Lukaax̱.ádi.
Austin Hammond (1910 – 1993) was one of the most deeply respected and admired Tlingit Elders of his time. Austin was deeply committed to instructing about Tlingit knowledge and motivating Tlingit people to fight for their rights. The people whose lives he impacted—which includes people all over Alaska and beyond—continue to talk about Austin’s legacy and to try to embody the knowledge and values that he shared.
This recording is from the Sealaska Heritage Institute Operational Recordings collection. This recording was placed online as part of an Institute of Museum & Library Services grant.