Sealaska Heritage Institute enlists renowned, nationally-known educators to give keynote addresses at its education conferences for teachers and administrators in Southeast Alaska as part of a larger effort to promote culturally responsive pedagogy in schools.

Dr. Dolly Garza

Dr. Dolly Garza was born in Ketchikan, Alaska, and is Kaigani Haida. Dolly moved to Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, 10 years ago after retiring as a professor at the University of Alaska. She is now a full-time artist and is well-known for her weaving. Dolly has a Ph.D. in marine policy and is the author of Common Edible Seaweeds of the Gulf of Alaska.

She continues to teach seaweed identification and sustainable harvesting workshops.

"Gathering Our Knowledge"

In this keynote presentation, Dr. Garza will provide a review of gathering traditional foods and materials and a glimpse into the lessons that are learned through these activities. She’ll build on our understanding that science and culture are intertwined as we learn when and where and why we gather foods and material throughout the year.

Friday Breakout:  Gathering and Using Local Seaweeds.   This presentation will review which seaweeds are available during different times of the year and how they can be gathered and used. 

Dr. Matthew Wappett

Dr. Matthew Wappett is a researcher, a writer, and an educator in stress management, leadership, and inclusion. Dr. Wappett is the Executive Director of the Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice at Utah State University. He holds an affiliate appointment as a Research Associate Professor in the USU Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling. Dr. Wappett’s teaching and research on the effects of stress on learning and behavior helps individuals and organizations understand how to become more resilient and inclusive.

Dr. Wappett is committed to providing educators, social workers, and other human service professionals with the tools they need to manage their stress, and the skills they need to become more resilient. He is committed to creating inclusive environments that foster a sense of purpose and belonging. Dr. Wappett’s work is also focused on the effects of laughter as a stress management technique and a tool to create inclusion. He finds great joy in teaching people how to laugh!

"Managing Life with Laughter: How Stress Makes You a Terrible Person and Why You Should Laugh About It!"

This interactive session will review the most recent science on the physical, psychological, and social impacts of chronic stress and will introduce participants to the science of laughter. This presentation will help participants understand the correlation between stress and mental health and will provide a brief overview of why poor mental health is the next epidemic.  Participants will engage in a short laughter "practice" and Dr. Wappett will provide several simple self-care strategies that participants can use to manage stress and promote mental health in their personal lives and in the classroom.