man holds up native drum with students around him

On Monday May 16th, Annette Island School District celebrated the naming of a xsoo (canoe), designed by local artist Clifton Guthrie and painted by AISD Students!  

During the ceremony, Superintendent Taw Lindsey  spoke of the importance of the ceremony and honored the late Ruth Booth, a member of the community who was an incredible wealth of knowledge of Tsimshian culture and Sm'algyax and who will be greatly missed by the entire community.  

Senior James Williams then spoke of the importance of connection to your culture and what it means to have worked on the project.  Naomi Leask then gave a gift to Clifton Guthrie, and thanked him for his beautiful design and for working with the students.  Shannon Hudson named the students who were selected to be in the xsoo when it launches on Thursday May 19th, as well as the four seniors (one from each of the Tsimshian clans) to lay copper shields (crafted by Tad Yliniemi'sWoods class and painted by John Hudson's Native Arts students) under the canoe. The audience then watched a video of interviews from three students who worked on the project, and headed down to see the xsoo.

Once under the covered area, the 40' xsoo (towed by a truck) was surrounded by students and staff.  The elementary students brought their handmade drums and the entire student body and staff sang "Da̱’a̱xłgm Dm Lip Al’algya̱g̱m", "We Speak for Ourselves" by Gavin Hudson, led by Culture Teacher Gamaas Bolton.  Clifton Guthrie thanked the district and students.  Cedar boughs were handed out and laid under the xsoo, along with the copper shields.  Students from each clan then spoke the name of the xsoo " ‘Wiileeksa Goop" or "Great Big Wave", and then the entire audience named the xsoo out loud, together.

T'oya̱xsut 'nüün (thank you) to Shannon Hudson, Naomi Leask, and Gamaas Bolton for putting the ceremony together.  Thank you to Clifton Guthrie for your incredible design and for teaching our students your craft.  Thank you to our incredible students for participating, and our community for your unending support!