DNA Could Provide Connection Between Tlingits, Haidas and Other Tribal Groups

Southeast Alaska’s largest Native cultural gathering is set for this week in the Capital City. Fifty-five dance groups from Alaska, Canada and the Lower-48 will take the stage during the three-day event. It’s expanded from one hall to a half-dozen venues around downtown Juneau and includes a Native artists market, food contests, films, lectures and demonstrations.

A University of Pennsylvania expert will also be there to collect DNA samples. He’s hoping the genetic-testing effort could provide more information about the connections Tlingits and Haidas have with other tribal groups.

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.