Celebration 2020 will be a "virtual" event

Participants asked to submit photos, videos

"Celebration," the enormous biennial Native American cultural event originally scheduled to take place this year in Juneau, is being postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In its place this year, event organizer Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is holding a virtual Celebration during the time Celebration 2020 would have occurred, June 10-13. In lieu of in-person activities, the Celebration 2020 virtual event will include live watch parties of previous performances and new videos of associated events.

During the live stream, people will be able to watch the programming together on SHI's YouTube channel and interact with each other, said SHI President Rosita Worl. SHI also plans to have live moderators during the broadcast.

"During this time of uncertainty and fear, we need to come together somehow and celebrate our cultural survival. We as a people have been sorely tested in the past and survived many hardships. We will endure, but our people need something positive to anticipate right now," Worl said.

SHI plans to live stream performances from Celebration 2018 and cut in new footage between dance groups. SHI is asking applicants of its Toddler Regalia Review, Indigenous Fashion Show and Juried Art Show and Competition to send photos and videos of their children, designs and art, which will be produced into videos and shown during the broadcast. SHI will accept new applicants through May 15. Juried Art Show pieces will also be showcased through an online exhibit.

The institute is also asking Celebration participants to send selfies of themselves to CeleSelfies@sealaska.com. These will be shared and later combined in a photo collage in lieu of the panoramic photo usually taken during the event. SHI is also seeking short phone videos from participants greeting viewers.

Celebration in its in-person format will return on its new date, June 2-5, 2021.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. For more information, visit http://www.sealaskaheritage.org.

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