Sealaska Heritage Institute undertakes project to digitize reel-to-reel recordings

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - After previously receiving a collection of recordings of Southeast Native Radio and other valuable programs in 2010, Sealaska Heritage Institute is moving forward with processing the recordings through a grant that supports the preservation of rare and unique audio.

    Southeast Native Radio was broadcasted by KTOO in Juneau from 1985 to 2001 and informed Alaskans about Native topics.

    Topics included politics, religion, subsistence, land claims, political movements, women’s issues, cultural survival, and language documentation.

    Also within the collection is a 13-part series on the history of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Tlingit language segments from the annual program "Live day."

    Emily Pastore, Archives and Collections Manager at Sealaska Heritage Institute, was asked how the grant came to be. Pastore said "We received the collection in 2010 and we've had a lot of interest in the collection. We do have some reels that were digitized over the years and those have been really highly requested in our reference requests. So when we saw the opportunity for the Clear Recordings at Risk grant we knew we really had to take of that as an opportunity to make these recordings accessible and viewable."

    Pastore commented on the content "Its really cool because the recordings preserve the words and voices of these Alaska Native rights activists, Native Elders, Native Educators, Clan Leaders, and Cultural Specialists."

    Pastore was asked about the digitizing process, "Most of them are on reel to reel and we don't have any equipment to play or digitize those reels. So in order to get the data off of it we have to send it down to a digitizing company in the lower 48."

    When asked about the timeline, Pastore said "We're gonna spend the next few months packing up everything and making sure everything is safe and watertight and ship it down to the lower 48. They'll spend the next five or so months digitizing, and they'll ship it back up to us. So we are expecting to have everything online in about a year."

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