“Hik’aan Gaay Gya’aang,” by Alaska Native artist TJ Young

Season’s greetings and warm wishes for the coming year.

Enjoy this new piece of art by TJ Young, titled “Hik’aan Gaay Gya’aang,” purchased by GCI at a charitable auction, and carved by TJ to tell the story of GCI’s relationship with the State of Alaska and all the communities it is proud to provide service to.

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“Hik’aan Gaay Gya’aang,” by Alaska Native artist TJ Young

About Hik’aan Gaay Gya’aang

The salmon (Chiin) on the top represents our Alaska’s future, our youth, following in the path of ancestors and retuning to do great things for our state.

The Raven (Yáahl) in the middle symbolizes the creation, transformation, and adaptation.

The Eagle (Ts’áak’) at the base portrays prestige and wisdom as Alaska moves into the future.

These Haida clan symbols were chosen for GCI because the animals they represent range throughout Alaska and are recognized and respected by all Alaskans.

Each symbol on this totem was carved interconnectedly, to depict them working together in unity to achieve success. Just as the roots of all Haida people are intertwined and tangled like the roots of trees, this pole represents the interconnection created by GCI throughout Alaska.

TJ Young was raised in Hydaburg, Alaska. It was here that he carved his first totem pole, as a tribute to his late grandmother, years after his grandfather first taught him how to hand carve halibut hooks.

TJ cites his grandfather as a major influence in his life and artistic development. As one of few people in the community whose first language was Haida, he introduced TJ to Haida language, art, and culture. After years of study and practice, TJ has now crafted dozens of totems and canoes, and considers it an honor to carry on the traditions of his ancestors.

TJ’s carvings have a strong presence on Prince of Wales Island and can also be found in galleries and private collections from The Alaska Native Heritage Center to Florida.

Visit TJ Young's website →

Read about how TJ Young is keeping Haida culture alive through traditional art on the GCI Blog →

Alaska Native artist TJ Young designed the totem featured in the 2020 GCI Business holiday card.
This image is provided for personal use only. Personal use means non-commercial use of the media for display on personal phones, websites and computers, or making image prints or video copies for personal use. The image may not be used in any way whatsoever in which you charge money, collect fees, or receive any form of remuneration.

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