Introducing Sealaska’s new logo
Sealaska’s new logo is composed of traditional formline created by Tsimshian master artist David R. Boxley (Gyibaawm Laxha) of Metlakatla. The inspiration for the design is a salmon egg. The shape of the logo, like the egg, is a circle, representing a perpetual cycle that sustains and renews. As Sealaska prepares to mark its 50th anniversary in 2022, we are building a company designed to sustain future generations of shareholders and descendants for the next 100 years.
Why a salmon egg?
The salmon egg represents the promise and obligation we hold for future generations. As the salmon matures and heads downstream, it requires an entire system in balance – forest, animals, ocean and people. All of us rely on the salmon in turn.
Balance is the aspiration that focuses our work, challenging us to confront the greatest problems facing our people – a warming climate, changing oceans, inequities in systems and opportunities. It requires us to be courageous and deeply self-aware, humble and optimistic at the same time. The resiliency and adaptability of the salmon reminds us that the knowledge we need to sustain ourselves was passed down to us from our ancestors.
Sealaska, like the salmon, is inextricably connected to a very meaningful place that has been home to our ancestors since the beginning. Our path to maturity may take us far from where we were born, but we always strive to return home, connect our children to their culture, and give back to the place that created us.
DAVID ROBERT BOXLEY
I have been an artist my entire life. My parents tell me they wouldn’t have to worry about me for hours as long as I had a stack of paper and crayons, even at 3 years old. I started carving with my father, David Albert Boxley, when I was 6 years old. I never formally apprenticed with my dad, rather, I just spent time with him in his shop. One week I’d decide to make a bowl and he’d show me how.
I’ve been selling my work in galleries since I was 13. I trained with master illustrator Chris Hopkins while I was in high school. After two years of art school, I decided to leave and commit to carving, full time.
In my 20’s, dad and I made over a dozen totem poles together and I started taking on my own major commissions, as well as showing in galleries internationally.
In 2009, I had the great fortune of working for and learning from Robert Davidson. This was the equivalent to a PhD program for a carver and over two years, learned so much.
I have been incredibly fortunate. I work in many mediums: red cedar, yellow cedar, alder, paper, hide, silver, gold and digital.
Formline, two-dimensional Northwest Coast design, is iconic, ancient and timeless. Our peoples have utilized this shared, complex and beautiful design system for eons to display our crests and decorate our treasures. This design system is all about balance: between red and black and between positive and negative space. It is a clear reflection of our culture and its values. I’m thankful that the board of directors saw how important it was to represent with Formline, knowing that it is a true representation of its people.
Though many designs and concepts were attempted, the salmon was an idea and that kept coming back (pun intended). The Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian ARE salmon people. Our cultures are literally built around the life cycle of the salmon. It was necessary to walk a fine line between simplicity, for the flexibility needed for a modern logo, and using proper Formline design. The logo that was decided on does both and is full of meaning.
The Salmon Egg symbolizes our connection to the salmon and the respect we must show the salmon in order for them to keep returning to us, as well as the respect and balance we must show to each other and the natural world. It also represents our own life cycles and how we have a responsibility to look to the future to build a better world for the generations to come.
The Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian have always been connected. Intermarriages, trade relationships, and even common origins tie us together in so many ways. Tsimshian were hired to paint screens for our neighbors often in the old days and I am honored to continue that tradition today.
The salmon egg symbolizes our connection to the salmon and the respect we must show the salmon in order for them to keep returning to us, as well as the respect and balance we must show to each other and the natural world. It also represents our own life cycles and how we have a responsibility to look to the future to build a better world for the generations to come.
I make the salmon egg design in my work to represent abundance, renewal and hope.
Not only is a salmon egg new life, the salmon nourishes us. We consume the salmon. And when the salmon goes up river to spawn and die, it nourishes our land that feeds us in so many ways.
The Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people were and are always evolving and changing with the times. It is important that Sealaska continues to grow and change, helping create abundance, renewal and hope for the next generations. Something as simple as a logo can say a lot about who you are and what you do. This logo has meaning and is contemporary, to fit today’s ever-growing social media platforms.
If we look at the world in the form of a circle, let us look at what is on the inside of the circle as experience, culture and knowledge. Let us look at this as the past. What is outside of the circle is yet to be experienced. But in order to expand the circle we must know what is inside the circle...
The challenge is ours to keep expanding the circle.
“The salmon egg logo will serve as a reminder to future generations that Sealaska is home.”
“As we continuously do the work to understand who we are and where we come from, and to apply that knowledge to our modern concerns, we are humbled by the opportunities to share that reflection and understanding with others. Our work on this new brand for Sealaska is just one expression of that introspective process. We hope in sharing our discovery and our story, we can inspire others with the creativity, depth and balance of our traditional arts and Indigenous knowledge.”
Letter from the President & CEO
To our community,
One of the most fulfilling aspects of my time as president and CEO of Sealaska has been seeing the hard work and intention that has led to realigning our business with our traditional cultural values, and watching that alignment result in financial performance that grows stronger every year.
Several years ago, we consciously decided that how we make money needs to draw on our core competencies as a people and contribute to a healthy, balanced economy and natural environment. We wanted our children, and their children, to be proud of us, and to know that we did not shy away from the planet’s most pressing problems at this critical time, including the changing climate and acidification of our oceans.
Our care for future generations is a core cultural value called Haa Shuká (Tlingit), Íitl’ Kuníisii (Haida) and Na Hlagigyadm (Tsimshian). In English, it is translated as “past, present and future,” and it means that we are called upon to learn from our past and perpetuate our ancestors’ knowledge on behalf of our grandchildren.
Our businesses today are centered on ocean health. We are creative problem solvers who combine Indigenous knowledge with Western science and engineering to clean up our soil and water; use data to answer challenging questions; prepare healthy, low-impact foods like wild salmon and other seafood; and construct (and deconstruct) infrastructure in an environmentally responsible manner. With this approach, we are seeing consistent growth in the earnings generated by these businesses, and in turn, consistent growth in the level of benefits we are able to offer to shareholders. This means more scholarships, more support for regional entrepreneurs, more of the urgent work of preserving our traditional languages, and the flexibility to provide additional, critical support for our shareholders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are a corporation, but not a traditional one. We seek to grow, but not for growth’s sake. The purpose of our business endeavors is to provide the benefits our shareholders value. As we continuously do the work to understand who we are and where we come from, and to apply that knowledge to our modern concerns, we are humbled by the opportunities to share that reflection and understanding with others. Our work on this new brand for Sealaska is just one expression of that introspective process. We hope in sharing our discovery and our story, we can inspire others with the creativity, depth and balance of our traditional arts and Indigenous knowledge.
Gunalchéesh, Háw’aa, T’oyaxsut ‘nüüsm.
Anthony Mallott | Gunnuk’
President & CEO
Letter from the Board Chair
The salmon egg is the inspiration for our new logo mark. The salmon egg is a great representation of balance, strength and resilience in a very dynamic environment.
Like the salmon, our #OneSealaska community is about that undeniable connection to a very special place. A place we know as home.
#OneSealaska is both local and global.
#OneSealaska is understanding that when you take care of the land and water, the land and water will take care of you. We are all one. We have one planet. We need to take care of it.
It is understanding that our local economies are our world. At the same time, it is understanding that we are connected to the rest of the world.
#OneSealaska is the past, the present, and the future.
It is having reverence for our ancestors, to help us make decisions for the benefit of those yet to be born.
#OneSealaska is about working together.
It is understanding that we cannot achieve our goals alone. Strengthening communities, caring for land and water, requires meaningful partnerships. It requires alignment around a shared purpose.
#OneSealaska is knowing what it means to be salmon people.
The Tlingit, the Haida, and the Tsimshian are salmon people, literally and figuratively.
Salmon rely on clean water. We rely on salmon.
#OneSealaska is about finding balance.
Balance requires discipline. It builds muscle. Balance is a mental, physical and emotional activity. It requires work. With practice, with time, it becomes a habit. It becomes who we are. The ability to find this balance is one of the qualities that differentiates elders from old people. We rely on elders to maintain social, emotional, physical balance and strength. Their wisdom is priceless.
The salmon egg logo will serve as a reminder to future generations that Sealaska is home.