ONCE WE WERE WARRIORS
Once we were warriors. We were free from booze and drugs. Knowledge was passed down and oral history was kept alive. Traditions were kept. Everyone had a role in the village and everyone knew what that role was. Unity and honor, as well as your word, had value. We lived in harmony with nature. This was the way for thousands of years. Much has changed in the last one hundred and fifty years. Booze, drugs, disease. loss of identity, and introduction of foreign religion were forced upon us. Our land, our freedom, and our way of life were gone forever. Gangs, guns, law enforcement, and court systems, overwhelm us. A person that is not trained in this new way will be overwhelmed at best, with death by suicide the ultimate worst. This happens way too much. Jail, attorneys, halfway houses, government programs, therapists, and ways that don't make sense do the rest. Once we were warriors!!
What is left?
My name is Wayne Price, a Tlingit wood carver from Haines, Alaska. Today in recovery, I am free from drugs and alcohol. It has come to me that it is time for me to pass on my skills as an artist, to the youth of today, as well as my sobriety recovery story. I call on thousands of years of history passed down through the carving of wood to help me. Our rich history, culture and way of life are not lost as long as our art can be held and admired. We have the key to the doorway of our past. The key is passing down knowledge and tradition to the youth of today. I use this key through my knowledge and ability to carve and teach carving in the traditional Tlingit style. I feel that dugout canoes are a big part of the key to the door of our past. There is a very old way of life that was free from drugs and alcohol. Our people today would call it a new way of life. I can help young people save themselves a lot of sadness, heartache, grief, and confusion just by teaching them to create a dug out canoe, with the ability to take the ship out and use it for gathering food, potlatches, races, and journeys to other villages or just down the bay to Battery Point. Then and only then, can I say that my work is done. I want to witness a small page of our history from a time past. I want to stand on a beach and watch the fleet of canoes come around the point, as I listen to songs of joyous music across the water echoing our past. I want to let our ancestors smile down upon us and know we are still here.
I stand before you now as a warrior.
Wayne G. Price
Ship, Captain, and Crew