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Herring Rock blessing helps community heal after murders

SITKA, ALASKA Sitkans celebrated the annual Blessing of the Herring Rock Sunday (3/30) afternoon. Tlingit clan leaders gathered outside the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi to welcome in the herring and celebrate the Tribe’s long cultural history.
According to Tlingit tradition, each year herring return to the Rock to spawn. The event marks the beginning of spring and the community’s annual harvest of traditional foods. Blessing the Rock ensures that this cycle will continue.
This year, the ceremony represented more than just seasonal renewal. Five days previous, a young man brutally murdered four people in Sitka, three of whom were family members. The homicide shocked the community. The Herring Rock Blessing served as an opportunity for Sitkans, both Native and non-Native, to come together and seek healing from that trauma.

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