University of Alaska Southeast

Book on Tlingit Battle Wins National Award

Juneau, AK
Date of Press Release: Jan. 14, 2009

Nora and Richard Dauenhauer at UAS Alumni and Friends Mariners Game, Seattle, July 2008University of Alaska Southeast faculty and authors Richard and Nora Dauenhauer were in Berkeley, California recently to accept an American Book Award. They joined a ceremony, reception and book reading with fellow award winners at Anna’s Jazz Island. The event was hosted by California Poet Laureate Al Young and attended by legendary musician Taj Majal.

Photo Caption:Nora and Richard Dauenhauer at UAS Alumni and Friends Mariners Game, Seattle, July 2008

Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká: Russians in Tlingit America, The Battles of Sitka 1802 and 1804, by the Dauenhauers and the late Lydia Black of Fairbanks was one of 14 winners of the Before Columbus Foundation's 28th annual awards held on December 28, 2008.

“The American Book Award was created to recognize the multi-ethnic diversity of American literature (Native American, Asian-American, Afro-American, Latino, and many Euro-American immigrant communities) and to encourage the small and academic presses that take the risk to publish these writers who are typically ignored in American mass-market publishing,” said Richard Dauehauer.

According to an article in the Juneau Empire, December 25, 2008:

The fourth volume in the award-winning series "Classics of Tlingit Oral Literature," describes the historic battles between the Russians and Tlingits in the early 19th century. The volume includes never-before published recordings - made in the 1950s by Kiks.ádi elder Sally Hopkins and Kaagwaantaan elder Alex Andrews, who was a child of the Kiks.ádi - by the National Park Service of Tlingit elders telling oral histories of the battles.

Despite challenges, the Dauenhauers were able to compare the recordings to Russian eyewitness accounts, which were translated into English by Black, a scholar and anthropologist who worked on the book until her death in 2007.

“I’m happy for the recognition of our book because I think it’s important for our Tlingit children to know they have a place in Alaska history; the book can be used in schools, and our children can find themselves in it,” said Nora Marks Dauenhauer.

“We are very honored to receive this recognition for our work, and we thank those who supported us. The book started 20 years ago when we were at Sealaska Heritage Foundation, it was completed as part of the research component of my President’s Professorship at UAS,” added Richard Dauenhauer.

According to its Website, “The Before Columbus Foundation was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit educational and service organization dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary American multicultural literature. The goals of BCF are to provide recognition and a wider audience for the wealth of cultural and ethnic diversity that constitutes American writing.”

This is not the first time the foundation has recognized the Dauenhauers. In 1990 their second volume in the "Classics of Tlingit Oral Literature" series won an American Book Award.

In 2007, UAS colleague and faculty Ernestine Hayes earned the honor for her memoir, Blonde Indian.

Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká: Russians in Tlingit America, The Battles of Sitka 1802 and 1804, is co-published by the Sealaska Heritage Institute and the University of Washington Press. The couple is working on volume five of the series, a transcription and translation of Tlingit Raven stories.


Richard Dauenhauer

(907) 796-6415