My Lingít name is Xéetl’ee and I am of the Raven Moiety, Kiks.ádi Clan, and Kax̲átjaa Hít [Jumping Herring/Shattering House] in Sheet'ká [Sitka, Alaska]. Women of my clan are known as Kax̲átjaashaa [Herring Ladies] through our oral history of the Herring Rock Woman. I am a tribal citizen of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. I grew up on the Central Coast of California on Northern Chumash land and currently live and work in Sheet’ká. My ancestors are both Indigenous to Alaska and settlers from Norway, France and the UK.
I am an artist, scholar, filmmaker, dancer, and a learner of haa kusteeyí [our Lingít way of life]. I am currently a PhD candidate in Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis and I work as an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Alaska Southeast. My community-based research crosses into critical Indigenous Studies, Improvisation and Performance Studies, and Feminist Science and Technology Studies. My current creative projects and dissertation centers the rematriation of Herring Lady performances and protocols that enact deep relations to Herring relatives and interconnected ecosystems. As a Herring Lady, my work is embedded in my own relationships and responsibilities to my Lingít community and more-than-human relatives.
I have danced in different contexts such as performing in the Civic Ballet Company of San Luis Obispo, training with Kathleen Hermesdorf in La Alternativa, and apprenticing with Joe Goode Performance Group in San Francisco. I currently dance and perform with the Lingít dance group: The Sheet'ká Kwaan Dancers and create my own choreographic work that is informed by my movement and improvisation practice. I studied Art Practice at UC Berkeley, where I focused in figurative drawing and began creating short films, and graduated with my BA in 2011. After living in the Bay Area where I began filming dance professionally for Rapt Productions, I moved to Berlin where I lived for several years under an artist visa. While abroad, my short films were screened internationally and I engaged in community-based projects such as Rhizophora: a collaboration with young Vietnamese living with disabilities caused by the chemical Agent Orange. In 2019, I returned to California to begin my graduate studies in order to focus on work with my Lingít community, and in 2021 I received an MA in Native American Studies from UC Davis. I am deeply engaged in the Herring Protectors movement in Sheet'ká, decolonizing education systems, and creating more equitable futures for our youth.
*This space is mostly for archiving my creative research projects over the years.
Gunalchéesh hat yigoodí! Thank you for coming!
photo by Ludger Storcks