Wednesday, June 8, 2022: How Celebration sparked a cultural renaissance. Juneau Symphony’s Night at the Oscars. Theater Alaska’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Kingeisti David Katzeek in 1982, speaking with a group of elders at the very first Celebration. Katzeek, a renowned Lingít orator and culture bearer, died in in 2020 (Photo courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute).

The first Celebration drew only a few hundred people back in 1982, mostly elders. Today, this gathering brings more than 2,000 dancers and thousands of others to Juneau to celebrate the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska.

On this Wednesday’s Juneau Afternoon, a look at an event that sparked a cultural renaissance. Ed Thomas, President Emeritus of the Tlingit and Haida Central Council will offer perspectives on efforts before Celebration to raise cultural awareness. His niece, Barbara Blake, will talk about the cultural renaissance Celebration helped to spawn. Blake is the Alaska Native Policy director for First Alaskans Institute. Also on the program, Joaqlin Estus, a national correspondent for Indian Country Today. Estus, who attended the very first Celebration, will talk about the differences between then and now.

Also on this program:

  • A Night at the Oscars with the Juneau Symphony.
  • Outdoor Performances of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Garden Talk with Ed Buyarski

Sheli DeLaney hosts this Wednesday’s program. You can catch Juneau Afternoon, Tuesday through Friday, live at 3:00 p.m. on KTOO Juneau 104.3.  The rebroadcast airs at 7:00 p.m. on KTOO. You can also listen online at

For more information about Juneau Afternoon or to schedule time on the show, email




Part 1: Celebration and collective memory.

Guests: Ed Thomas, President Emeritus, Tlingit and Haida Central Council. Barbara Blake, Alaska Native Policy Director, First Alaskans Institute. Joaqlin Estus, National Correspondent, Indian Country Today.
Barbara Blake (wearing hat) and Joaqlin Estus shared their memories of Celebration. Barbara was born in 1982, the first year of Celebration, which Joaqlin attended. Ed Thomas, President Emeritus of Tlingit and Haida, also joined in the conversation via Zoom.

Celebration has a 40-year history of not only bringing the Lingít, Haida and Tsimshian peoples together but also inspiring collective cultural healing.

Part 2: Juneau Symphony brings Hollywood magic to its weekend concerts.

Guests: Charlotte Truitt, Executive Director of the Juneau Symphony. Troy Quinn, guest conductor.

The Juneau Symphony’s Night at the Oscars features popular movie themes.


Part 3: Theater Alaska's Midsummer Night's Dream: Shakespeare under the sky.

Juneau Dance Theatre provides some of the performers in Theater Alaska’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
Guests: Flordelino Langundino, Theater Alaska Artistic Director. Enrique Bravo, actor.

Shakespeare, the bard, probably would have approved of Theater Alaska’s outdoor stage for his Midsummer Night’s Dream — a comedy with love, fairies and fantasy, as well as a lot of confusion and creative mischief.


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