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Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes

Ernestine Saankaláxt Hayes belongs to the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan clan of the Tlingit nation (Lingít).


Her essays, articles, short stories, and poetry have been published in Studies in American Indian Literature, Alaska Quarterly Review, Tipton Review, A History of Western American Literature, and other venues, including permanent installation of “The Spoken Forest” at Totem Bight State Park. Alaska Writer Laureate 2016-2018, Hayes is the author of American Book Award recipient Blonde Indian, an Alaska Native Memoir, which received an Honoring Alaska Indigenous Literature Award and PEN Nonfiction finalist.  Her latest book, The Tao of Raven, places fiction and nonfiction narratives in the context of Raven and the Box of Daylight and Sun Tzu’s Art of War.


Hayes was recently named as the Rasmuson Distinguished Artist 2021.


Grandmother of four and great-grandmother of three, this University of Alaska Southeast professor emerita makes her home in Juneau not far from the Juneau Indian Village where she was born and raised.

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