Song Leader Staff Repatriation Ceremony
In 2018, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts couriered a ceremonial song leader staff (
or Killer Whale Dorsal Fin) back to Alaska. It was said to be 100 years old when collected around 1932 by Axel Rasmussen, a Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent of schools in Skagway, Alaska. Tlingit & Haida and representatives of the
clan identified that the staff depicts a representation of the
(Bear) crest and is owned by the
clan of Angoon, Alaska. This crest is an object of cultural patrimony and has historical, traditional and cultural importance to the Tlingit people and their culture. It is also a sacred object vital to the ongoing cultural and religious practices that are unique to the Tlingit.