“The world has lost another luminary.”
That’s how the Sealaska Heritage Institute began a message announcing the death of Clarissa Rizal at age 60, a renowned Chilkat and Ravenstail weaver. She was a Raven of the T’akdeintaan Clan, also known as the black-legged Kittywake Clan.
The institute’s announcement says Native people owe her a debt for teaching and reviving the sacred art.
Rizal was diagnosed with terminal liver and colon cancer in October and passed in the early hours this morning. Her sudden death comes as a shock to many.
In addition to weaving, Rizal was a multimedia artist who worked with paint, music, spoken word, printmaking and sculpture. Among her works in recent years was a collaboration with the Seattle-based band Khu.éex’. You can hear Rizal perform in “To Her Grandmother” by clicking below.
Among other awards, Rizal was a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts fellow. You can watch her presentation at the Fellowships Concert below.
She leaves behind children Kahlil and his wife Mikiko along with their daughter Violet; Lily Hope and husband Ishmael, and their children Elizabeth, Louis, Mary and Ella; Ursala Hudson and husband Chris Haas and their daughters Amelie and Simone. She is also survived by her siblings Richard, Tim, Irene and Deanna.
A celebration of life in Juneau will take place in the summer of 2017.
Alaska has a lot going on right now.
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- Donna Arduin is no longer in charge of the state budget for Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration. Dunleavy’s chief of staff says the decision was “made unanimously within the leadership of the governor’s office.”
- The move frees up nearly $11 million in funding from federal law enforcement programs, including money for local communities and tribal entities for addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes. The state will also get three new federal prosecutors who will be focused on rural Alaska.
- An email from Alaska's former first lady sheds new light on the actions that drove Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott from office, suggesting he may have invited a woman into his room, newly released emails show.
- A new Alaska group hopes to overhaul the state's oil and gas tax credit system through a ballot initiative called the Fair Share Act.