Workforce Development – SHI

Culture: Sealaska Heritage Institute

Sealaska Heritage Institute holds a graduation ceremony for Tlingit language mentors and apprentices enrolled in the mentor-apprentice program in Yakutat, Sitka, and Juneau. (Photo: Brian Wallace)

Alaska Native corporation Sealaska and its non-profit arm SHI have developed a comprehensive educational program to promote academic achievement and improve the quality of life among the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian (THT) tribal members they serve. Undergirding this program are two core tribal values: (1) Haa Shuká (“Our Past, Present and Future. We honor our ancestors, and we recognize that we have responsibilities to our future generations”), and (2) Haa Latseen (“Strength of Body, Mind, and Spirit. An element of Haa Latseen requires that we educate and train our youth to prepare them to care for their families and communities”). To enact these values, SHI awards undergraduate scholarships based on merit (instead of need), and successful applicants must demonstrate a knowledge of and commitment to THT culture. As part of the application process, they answer 25 multiple choice questions about Native history, with applicants’ scores determining how much scholarship funding each receives. Many SHI scholarship recipients go on to serve as Sealaska interns, and a number of them have become full-fledged “Language Learners” who take jobs in local school districts as educators who teach their Native language.

CONNECT: Carmaleeda Estrada, Operations Officer, Sealaska Heritage Institute,


To learn more about SHI’s workforce development story, click on the resources below.

Sealaska Heritage Institute
Sealaska Heritage Institute: Language Resources
Sealaska Corporation
NCAI PRC Tribal Insights Brief: Higher Education & Workforce Development
Sealaska: Sealaska Issues 289 Scholarships
Sealaska: 2017 Sealaska Heritage Institute Intern Q&A
Indian Country Today: Sealaska Heritage Institute Chooses Native Education Advocate for Scholarship
Indian Country Today: Sealaska Heritage Institute Receives Language Revitalization Grant
Anthony Mallott: Strategies for Aligning Your Nation’s Corporate, Cultural, and Social Priorities (video)