From left, the five new ceremonial Kiks.ádi robes (at.óow) in shades of blue are unveiled to the audience (KCAW/Rose)

Around 200 people attended a gathering in Sitka’s Totem Square to honor the herring on Saturday (4-10-21).

The event was organized by the Herring Protectors. The Indigenous-led group advocates for the cultural and ecological importance of herring, and supports the Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s fight for changes to the state’s management of the species. The Sitka Sound Sac Roe Herring Fishery closed last week, after 14 consecutive days of openers.

During the event, five ceremonial Kiks.ádi robes were unveiled along with a new song honoring the herring. The song was written by Louise Brady and is owned by the Kiks.ádi. The robes were designed by local Tlingit artist Jennifer Younger along with Carol Hughey, and formline design by Charlie Skultka. Together, they tell the story of the Herring Rock Woman, Kaxátjaashaa.

Thirteen volunteers put in over 300 hours into the creation of the traditional robes.