Sitkans celebrated the annual Blessing of the Herring Rock yesterday 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. 5 days earlier, a young man brutally murdered four people in Sitka, three of whom were family members. The homicides shocked the community. The Herring Rock Blessing served as an opportunity for Sitkans, both Native and non-Native, to come together and start to heal from that trauma.
Melissa Marconi Wentzel, KCAW – Sitka