The Seattle Aquarium honors our location in the traditional and contemporary territories of the Coast Salish people, who have stewarded these lands and waters since time immemorial. As part of our Artists in Action series, paddle carvers from Indigenous communities, both here at home and across the ocean, will create art pieces that will be displayed in our new Ocean Pavilion, opening in 2024.
Paddle carving at the Seattle Aquarium
We’re honored to host one of the five paddle carvers whose work will be displayed for years to come. Here is her story:
My name is Sx̱aałg̱én. My English name is Stephanie Masterman. I am from the Tlingit tribe of Southeast Alaska. I am of the Wooshkeetaan (Eagle/Shark) clan from the village of Hoonah, and a child of German, English, Irish and Navajo ancestors. I am a grandchild of the T’akdeintaan (Raven/black-legged Kittywake) clan also from Xunaa Káawu (Hoonah). I was born and raised in Washington state and am a 2022 graduate of American Indian Studies and Arctic Studies from the University of Washington. I have served in the Emerging Leader and Youth Ambassador leadership roles for my tribe, and currently serve as a delegate for our Tlingit and Haida community council. I continue to be actively involved in advocacy for MMIW, public safety and environmental justice for my community.
In an effort to connect with my cultural history, I am learning my Tlingit language, protocol, leadership, art forms and traditional ways of harvesting and subsistence.