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Grantee: Heather Litnauwista Metrokin Cannon

Project Title: Examining the Use of Fish Skin In Alaska Native Ancestral Garments with Hands-on Teaching
Year awarded: 2023, Round 3

Heather Litnauwista Metrokin Cannon is a Sugpiaq Alutiiq artist living and working in Spokane. Drawing from a wellspring of inspiration and using the primary mediums of natural materials, including fur, fish skin, glass, shell and bone beads and buttons, cotton and wool fibers, wood, and soapstone, she creates wearable and functional art pieces infused with cultural meaning. Cannon is also Co-Director of the Pacific Northwest Alutiiq Culture Camp (PNWACC), an outreach organization that provides connection and cultural programming for Alutiiq Sugpiaq People living outside of traditional homelands. 

In collaboration with PNWACC, Cannon aims to honor and preserve the cultural knowledge of Alaska Native fish skin use in both research and practice. First, Cannon will study the process of transforming fish skins into usable leather, and hold an educational event later next year for Alaska Natives in the Spokane area on the topic––sharing the art of transforming fish skins into usable and wearable items. This way, she will aim to enrich the cultural tapestry of the Alaska Native community in Spokane and support the survival of this cultural knowledge.

SAGA support will compensate Cannon for her research and help provide the materials for the educational event.