Morning: In the morning we visited coastal sites at Aanchg̱altsóow, nexus town (Auke Rec) and K’aan Héenak’u, porpoise little bay…2022 | Richard Carstensen | Landforms class archives
Culture embedded in nature
For the past 30 years, I’ve grown steadily more fascinated by Tlingit and Haida geography; the history and migrations of kwáans, clans, and houses, and the ways in which natural and cultural history intersect. From February to May, 2013, I participated in a course for high school students by Goldbelt Heritage Foundation, entitled Why do we live here?
Our essential question was; What factors went into the selection of village sites for Áak’w and T’aaku ancestors? One of the most powerful educational experiences of my career, it deepened my interest in the locations of ancient settlements. I now feel that these are the most important places in Southeast Alaska for all of us to study, understand and celebrate.
In coming years I hope to substantially expand this section of JuneauNature on Tlingit geography and history. Even from my limited perspective as a Southeast naturalist, the subject has so many fruitful avenues of investigation.
For example, consider the story of the Lost village of Gus’eix. In 1999, members of Gunaaxoo Kwáan, along with archeologists and friends from Yakutat and Glacier Bay, relocated an ancient village site that was well known in oral history but unvisited for many decades—so long that only trained eyes could find the clanhouse outlines. Finding this ancestral home was something the participants—and their descendants—will never forget.
Every Tlingit Kwáan has a lost village. Many, in fact. Where, aside from Aanchgaltsóow, were the homes of Áak’w and T’aaku Kwáans, in the depths of the Little Ice Age? Where were the homes of the microblade seal hunters, when these shorelines splashed hundreds of feet higher against hillsides clothed in wormwood and scrub alder?
Probably my most concise summary of Tlingit geography and history is a chapter in the Natural history of Juneau trails (2013). The full publication—a fund-raiser for Discovery Southeast underwritten by Juneau Community Foundation/Michael Blackwell fund—is not available for download, only for purchase in Juneau bookstores. But I have made that central chapter—People on the land—downloadable here.
In this section
Wow! these cross-fingers worked! What an amazing trip! Even better than pure-blue skies, there were enough puffy clouds and mixed…2022 | Richard Carstensen | Landforms class archives
On Sunday Sept-11 we motored 53 miles southeast from Áak’w into T’aakú Aaní, exploring landforms from the water. In Avenza,…2022 | Richard Carstensen | geopdfs for T’aaḵú cruise
Perfect location (except in an ice storm) In 2012, L’eeneidí historian Liana Wallace sent me a high-res scan of Waggoner…2022 | Richard Carstensen | 22 pages
Cybertracking the ‘power outlet’ On July 29th, 2022, 14 Discovery naturalists and their 3 visiting instructors gathered on tidal sand…2022 | Richard Carstensen | 23 page journal excerpt & pageflippers
Exhuming an early slideshow Back in 2011, preparing for a Charter School/Goldbelt Heritage overnight expedition to Methodist Camp,’out-the-road,’ I created…2010: uploaded 2022 | Richard Carstensen | 16 minute slideshow
Four days at the delta and Eaglecrest From June 9 to 12, 2022, Discovery gave the 4th in our series…2022 | Richard Carstensen | 46 page journal
If Harriman had been serious About 120 years ago the steamer Albatross conducted watershed surveys, interviews and salmon distribution studies…2019 | Richard Carstensen | 54 pages
Focus group tour On Thursday, August 26th, about 30 masked aficionados of dynamic Fish Creek delta assembled on invitation from…2021 | Richard Carstensen, Bob Armstrong | RC-59 pages: BA vid-links
Áak’w & T’aakú country in 1794 Back in 2010, when first collaborating with Goldbelt Heritage, I began to mine the…2011 updated 2021 | Richard Carstensen | 36-minute slideshow
Frontyard wetlands in StoryMaps Every May is American Wetlands Month, and this year, it’s especially interesting for residents of Áak’w…
New angles on Tʼóokʼ dleit ḵaadí, nettle snowslide (Behrends Slide) Late September, 2020 It’s probably time we stopped calling this…2020 | Richard Carstensen | 90 second slideshow
Hydrology in the point cloud. Maybe it’s all those years stippling scenes and species portraits, point by point with double-ought…2020 | Richard Carstensen | 2-minute slideshow
Kaalahéenak’u, inside a person’s mouth (Peterson Creek) For Clan Conference in autumn, 2015, I prepared a 7-minute animation exploring the…2015 | Richard Carstensen | 7-minute slideshow
Jilkáat and Jilkoot Aaní, land of Chilkat & Chilkoot people The 2012 cultural atlas edited by Tom Thornton and Harold…2020 | Richard Carstensen | geopdf, 17MB
A fireside presentation My talk at the Visitor Center in February, 2020 explored the past 20,000 years of glaciation and…2020 | Richard Carstensen | 27 minutes
Another great idea from Mike Cathy Connor and I (Richard Carstensen) have inherited a tradition spearheaded by our friend Mike…2019 | Mike Blackwell, Richard Carstensen & Cathy Connor | 27 pages
‘Lost village’ of Áak’w Kwáan Every Tlingit Kwáan in Southeast Alaska has at least one ‘lost village,’ known in oral history…2018 | Richard Carstensen | 33 pages
The central chapter in my 2013 publication Natural history of Juneau trails, pages 29-36, is a summary of deep and…2013 | Richard Carstensen | 7 pages (full publication, 72 pages)
Presentation for Evening at Egan On November 9th, 2018, I gave the second in a series of 4 lectures for…Nov, 2018 | Richard Carstensen | 36 minutes