December 5, 2023

Jo Mai Asian Culture

Embrace Artistry Here

Alaska Natives tradition to battle influx of drugs, addiction

5 min read

JUNEAU, Alaska — In the sanctity of a tribal sweat lodge, master wood carver Wayne Price felt his creator utter a directive to use his talents to help men and women battle addiction.

“In that sweat lodge, I said: ‘What can I do, I’m just a carver?’ The creator said he wanted me to create a healing dugout (a canoe) and a healing totem,” said Price, who uses a small “adze” cutting tool similar to an ax to whittle off wood chips to fashion his renowned art pieces.

Price, a member of the Tlingit tribe — pronounced clink-it — had sculpted many dugouts and totems, but wondered: “How do you make a healing one?”


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