Sealaska Heritage



(Enroll) (Video Short) (FAQs)

Sealaska Heritage sponsors Baby Raven Reads, an award-winning program that promotes early-literacy, language development and school readiness for Alaska Native families with children up to age 5. The pilot program in Juneau ended in 2017, and SHI received funding to offer the program for another three years and to expand it to nine other communities in Southeast Alaska. SHI—in partnership with Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) Head Start program—will offer the three-year program in Juneau, Angoon, Craig, Hoonah, Klawock, Petersburg, Saxman, Sitka, Wrangell and Yakutat through 2020. 

Baby Raven Reads improves early literacy skills by translating cultural strengths into home literacy practices. Baby Raven Reads provides family literacy events, training for care providers, and professional development for early childhood educators.

Next: Family Event, 10 am-noon, Saturday, March 10, Walter Soboleff Building, Juneau. 

SHI will sponsor a free family event on Saturday, March 10, for families with Alaska Native children age five and under as part of its Baby Raven Reads program. Join us for storytelling, songs and other cultural and literacy activities from 10:00 am-noon at the Walter Soboleff Building. Families may enroll at the event. Note: Schedules for all communities coming soon.

Literacy Events

Family literacy events will occur 9 times a year. Storytelling, songs, and other literacy activities are available to Alaska Native families with children up to age 5.  Through playful and culturally relevant activities with parents, children are provided opportunities to practice and develop skills such as oral language, phonological awareness, print awareness, and letter knowledge. 
A parent participant shared that, “(Family literacy sessions) teach our children our culture and build a sense of community.”

Baby Raven Books

Baby Raven Reads publications are a collection based on the cultural themes of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian. The illustrations in the Baby Raven Reads series reflect the importance of family, subsistence, and our land.  From baby board books to early readers and read a-louds, babies to adults can find joy in reading together. Families enrolled in Baby Raven Reads will receive Baby Raven Reads books with literacy activities to do at home. Books are also available through the Sealaska Heritage Store.

Community Liaisons

Community liaisons will be the point of contact in communities for all communications regarding the project. In February 2018, SHI welcomed liaisons Marry Knutsen of Yakutat, Shiann Kookesh of Angoon, Christie Jamieson of Wrangell, Debra Eddy of Petersburg, Gabriella Daniels of Saxman, Jamie Erickson of Hoonah, and Jeannie Emanoff of Sitka. SHI is still recruiting for community liaisons in Craig and Klawock. Expectations are as follows:

(Expectations and Commitments

  • Attend 16 hours of professional development in Juneau
  • Coordinate and staff local family literary activities 9 months a year
  • Identify parent helpers to assist with family literary activities
  • Work with Head Start staff, cultural specialists, parent leaders to plan family activity events
  • Data collection (event sign-in sheets, surveys, etc.)
  • Provide caregiver training
  • Participate in Raven Reads team meeting
  • Community Liaisons provide 30 hours a month 10 months a year ... (more)

To apply, send a resume to or fax to 907.586.9293, ATTN: Cara Gilbert.  


Baby Raven Reads was recognized in 2017 by the Library of Congress, which gave SHI its 2017 Best Practice Honoree award (watch a video short of former Education Director Jackie Kookesh accepting the award). In February 2018, the  American Indian Library Association awarded SHI's book Shanyaak'utlaax: Salmon Boy its American Indian Youth Literature Best Picture Book Award winner.  Also in February 2018, SHI’s Baby Raven book How Devil’s Club Came to Be was reviewed by the American Indians in Children's Literature (AICL) blog as a recommended title.