Years of colonization, modernization and neo-colonial influences have had a significant impact on the development of social policies and in turn a considerable impact on the cultural wellbeing of indigenous peoples throughout Oceania. As indigenous peoples we need to be looking “within” for solutions which enhance wellbeing whilst protecting the cultural heritage of our people.
This paper offers an appreciative enquiry into contemporary oratory and orators among the Tlingit of Alaska through analysis of two speeches made by elder Clarence Jackson at memorial rituals. The first is a condolence speech delivered at a funerary memorial held for a prominent Tlingit leader of the (opposite) Raven moiety in May 2011. The second oration was delivered in response to condolence speeches made for the removal of grief at the memorial party (a.k.a. potlatch) for one of Clarence Jackson’s Eagle moiety uncles in September 2012.