Around 200 people gathered in Sitka’s Totem Square on April 10 to honor the herring.
The event was organized by the Herring Protectors, an Indigenous-led group that advocates for the cultural and ecological importance of herring and supports the Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s fight for changes to the state’s management of the species.
The Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery closed last week after 14 consecutive days of openers.
During the event, five ceremonial Kiks.ádi robes were unveiled along with a new song honoring the herring. The song was written by Louise Brady and is owned by the Kiks.ádi. The robes were designed by local Tlingit artist Jennifer Younger along with Carol Hughey, with formline design by Charlie Skultka. Together, they tell the story of the Herring Rock Woman, Kaxátjaashaa.
Thirteen volunteers put in over 300 hours into the creation of the traditional robes.