Wild Language Festival Schedule

  • Posted on: 7 November 2017
  • By: Peter

Island Institute presents the Wild Language Festival, a weekend of activities celebrating the wild power of language and expression. The screenings, readings, stories, concerts, and workshops of the Wild Language Festival will place in locations around Sitka November 16th-19th. 


Thursday, Nov 16th

Our Alaskan Stories Season Two
The premiere of 5 short films by Mt Edgecumbe High School students. Special guest reading by Ernestine Hayes. 
7pm, Centennial Hall


Friday, Nov 17th
Ernestine Hayes (see profile below) school visits all day


Saturday, Nov 18th

9-10am - Alaska Native Poetry Reading
Island Institute / Wild Language Festival and Sheldon Jackson Museum will co-present an Alaska Native Poetry Reading with Coffee and Pastries. Admission will be waived. Local and Southeast Alaska Native writers will share their own poems or read some of their favorite Alaska Native-authored poems. All will be welcome to share poems written and published by Alaska Native authors. Refreshments will be served.

12pm-3pm - Workshop with Kristian Cordero (see profile below)

4-5:30pm - Alaska Quarterly Review 35th Anniversary Celebration @ Sitka Public Library, featuring readings by local writers and a short film

7pm-9pm - Exciting Event TBA! 


Sunday, Nov 19th 

12pm-3pm - Writing Workshop with Ernestine Hayes (see profile below)

7-9pm - Sitka Tells Tales @ Mean Queen
Wild Language themed: Stories of miscommunications, seeing things in new light, and finding the right words. 


Kristian Sendon Cordero (poet, fiction writer, essayist, translator, filmmaker; Naga City, Philippines) writes in Filipino, Bikol and Rinconada, and has translated Borges, Kafka, Wilde and Rilke to these languages. Two of his most recent poetry collections received the 2014 National Book Awards; his debut collection of poetry in his three respective languages won the Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award in 2006. He is the deputy director of the Ateneo de Naga University Press. His participation is courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.


Ernestine Hayes (Juneau, Alaska)
Current Alaska Writer Laureate Ernestine Hayes was born and raised in Juneau and now teaches at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. Ernestine belongs to the Kaagwaantaan clan of the Eagle side of the Lingit nation, and has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In her first book, Blonde Indian, Ernestine Hayes powerfully recounted the story of returning to Juneau and to her Tlingit home after many years of wandering. The Tao of Raven takes up the next and, in some ways, less explored question: once the exile returns, then what? 

Using the story of Raven and the Box of Daylight (and relating it to Sun Tzu's equally timeless Art of War) to deepen her narration and reflection, Hayes expresses an ongoing frustration and anger at the obstacles and prejudices still facing Alaska Natives in their own land, but also recounts her own story of attending and completing college in her fifties and becoming a professor and a writer. Hayes lyrically weaves together strands of memoir, contemplation, and fiction to articulate an Indigenous worldview in which all things are connected, in which intergenerational trauma creates many hardships but transformation is still possible. Now a grandmother and thinking very much of the generations who will come after her, Hayes speaks for herself but also has powerful things to say about the resilience and complications of her Native community.