May 18, 2009

Tlingit weaver is cultural treasure

Tlingit weaver wins national honor and $25,000

Sitka's Teri Rofkar can list herself among 'living cultural treasures'

By Mike Dunham
Teri Rofkar of Sitka, renowned for her Tlingit weaving and basketry, is among the 11 2009 National Heritage Fellows announced by the National Endowment for the Arts last week. The NEA National Heritage Fellowships are considered America's highest award for traditional folk arts and crafts. Recipients are sometimes referred to as "living cultural treasures." The honor comes with a $25,000 prize.

"I'm still kind of numb from the fact it happened," Rofkar said. "The money couldn't have come at a better time. It's tough to be a traditional artist in this financial climate. It allows me to continue doing what I'm doing. It means I don't have to start cleaning houses for a living."

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