Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

Help us redesign the Project Jukebox website by taking a very short survey!

Teri Rofkar
Teri Rofkar

Teri Rofkar was interviewed on May 21, 1999 by Kristen Griffin at a satellite office of the Sitka National Historical Park in Sitka, Alaska. Robi Craig, Tribal Anthropologist for the Sitka Tribe, video and audio taped the interview. At the time of this interview, Teri was in her mid-forties and had an enthusiasm for life, her culture, and her work as a Tlingit basket and textile weaver.  She is an eloquent and precise speaker and is engaging to listen to. In this interview, Teri covers such topics as the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center, traditional Tlingit artwork of basket and textile weaving, and her personal experiences with the Sitka National Historical Park, her culture and her development as an artist. Teri also shares a story about the origins of Tlingit basketry and her impressions of it. Both, the story and Teri's interpretation are beautiful and are perhaps the highlight of the interview.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 98-39-13

Project: Sitka National Historical Park
Date of Interview: May 21, 1999
Narrator(s): Teri Rofkar
Interviewer(s): Kristen Griffin
Videographer: Robi Craig
People Present: Robi Craig
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Introduction, Grandma's influence, and moving to Sitka

2) Learning to weave, and people who were her teachers

3) Different styles of weaving, and learning to weave continued

4) Taking weaving classes at the Cultural Center and starting a robe weaving project

5) The Kruzof Robe, and the importance of the Cultural Center to her and the development of her art

6) Working on a big weaving project, and the value of having other artists at the Cultural Center

7) Artists collaborating on projects, and her involvement with Cultural Center administration

8) Opening an art gallery, artists becoming independent from the Cultural Center, and good things the Cultural Center has done

9) Belonging to a family of artists

10) Her mother's involvement with the Cultural Center, and the process and time involved to weave a robe

11) Tells the story about the origin of baskets at Yakutat, and discusses the positive influence the Cultural Center had on her life

12) Connections between Native art and the Park

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: project -- explanation/ Sitka National Historical Park/ Cultural Center/ personal background/ Sitka/ California/ Rofkar, Teri -- parents/ Alaska -- moving to/ Anchorage/ Dimond High School/ Pelican/ Sitka/ Rofkar, Teri -- grandmother/ Moses, Eliza/ Sitka -- moving to/ art/ grandmother -- learning from/ Yakutat/ weaving|

Section 2: weaving -- learning/ Churchill, Dolores/ art -- learning/ Rofkar, Teri -- husband/ weaving -- importance of/ University class/ Peratovich, Selena/ Churchill, Dolores -- mother/ Littlefield, Esther -- mentor/ Littlefield, Esther -- teacher/ Rainman, Lucy -- weaver/ Metlakatla/ Cultural Center|

Section 3: weaving -- styles/ Tsimshian/ Tlingit/ Haida/ Hanlon, Ernestine/ Churchill, Dolores/ weaving -- left handed/ weaving -- learning/ weaving -- holding/ tension/ Rainman, Lucy/ dream/ weaving -- right handed/ Cultural Center -- classes/ Littlefield, Esther/ class -- beadwork/ beading -- learning|

Section 4: weaving/ Littlefield, Esther/ Cultural Center/ Samuel, Cheryl/ weaving -- Raven's Tail/ class -- weaving/ Hoonah/ Rofkar, Teri -- grandmother/ family -- weavers/ Hays, Ellen Hope/ class -- Raven's Tail/ weaving -- technique/ Sitka/ weavings -- locations/ Russia/ New York/ Cambridge, Massachusetts/ University of Pennsylvania/ grants/ weaving project -- robe|

Section 5: robe -- Kruzof/ cave/ Hayward Straight/ robe -- fragments/ Natural History Museum -- New York/ robe -- weaving/ Cultural Center/ weaving -- Raven's Tail robe/ Cultural Center -- importance of/ art -- opportunities/ Park -- inspiration from/ creativity/ dance -- Crossroads of the Continents exhibit| Click here for image.

Section 6: robe -- weaving/ weaving -- collaborators/ Jimmy, Irene/ Haines/ Klukwan/ Cultural Center/ tourists/ carvers/ silver engravers/ art -- isolation/ art -- design/ artists -- bond between/ Joseph, Tommy| Click here for image.

Section 7: silver box/ Galanin, Dave/ artists -- collaborating/ design -- visualization/ Joseph, Tommy/ potlatch rings/ crest hat/ collection -- permanent/ Cultural Center -- politics/ Hays, Ellen Hope/ Alaska Native Brotherhood/ Cultural Center -- independence/ Cultural Center -- board member/ Peterson, Gail/ grant -- totem pole carving/ Burkhart, Will|

Section 8: Cultural Center/ art gallery/ artist -- independent/ Joseph, Tommy/ artist -- full-time/ Galanin, Dave/ artist -- difficulties/ changes/ language/ protocol/ Cultural Center -- events/ totem pole/ Cultural Center -- benefits/ employment -- art/ Cultural Center -- collections/ exhibits/ Cultural Center -- education/ tourism/ weaving -- time consuming|

Section 9: art -- family/ art -- growing up/ art -- European/ Anchorage/ Rofkar, Teri -- mother/ Laws, Marie/ Rofkar, Teri -- father/ Rofkar, Teri -- sister/ Laws, Shelly/ weaving -- Chilkat/ spinning/ Cultural Center/ weaving -- apron/ carving -- mother/ Rofkar, Teri -- grandmother/ values -- growing up|

Section 10: Rofkar, Teri -- mother/ Laws, Marie/ Cultural Center -- board member/ Cultural Center -- non-profit/ Jimmy, Irene/ robe -- design/ robe -- story/ history/ symbols -- explanation of/ Rofkar, Teri -- daughter/ weaving -- learning/ weaving -- spruce root/ Rofkar, Erin -- daughter/ resources -- connections to nature/ art -- generation gap|

Section 11: spruce root -- collecting/ Yakutat/ story -- basketry origin/ sun -- falling in love/ maiden/ home -- clouds/ basket -- weaving/ weaving -- Raven's Tail/ people -- beautiful/ Rofkar, Teri -- grandmother/ story -- hawk and his beak/ story -- origin of fire/ stories -- truth/ Cultural Center -- influence of/ weaving|

Section 12: Cultural Center -- importance of/ Park -- Native art/ Park -- facilities/ artist -- freedom/ art -- learn about/ art -- reflects the people/ art -- experience/ Park -- direct experiences/ Park -- trails/ bird -- eagle/ Cultural Center/ conversations|