Nobu Koch, Courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute
Discerning palates judged the anonymous black seaweed contest entries at Sealaska Heritage Institute's Celebration 2016.

Crunchy Goodness Rules the Day in Black Seaweed Contest at Sealaska Celebration 2016


Slightly crunchy and lightly salted characterized the winning black seaweed entry as Dora Barr took top honors at one of two traditional-food contests at Sealaska Celebration 2016.

Barr came in first place, with second and third places going to Roberta Revey and Ivan Williams, respectively. Prizewinners got $500, $250 and $100 for first, second and third place.

The traditional food contests aim to both introduce young people to traditional Native foods and draw attention to the health benefits of traditional Native cuisine, Sealaska said in a media release announcing the winners of the seaweed and soapberry contests.

RELATED: Soapberry Contest Offers Flashbacks to Delicious Days Gone By at Sealaska Celebration 2016

The seaweed contest was held on Thursday June 9 in a room set aside specifically for elders attending the biennial festival, Sealaska said. Contestants’ names were withheld until the judging was completed, which left the evaluators free to indulge their palates.

“The winner for me had enough salt and not too much crunch—that’s how I like mine, so that’s what I chose,” said Ashley Colon, one of the three judges, in a Sealaska media release. “I live in Anchorage and I don’t get it often up there, so it’s a nice treat to be able to judge and taste all the different styles that are out there.”

After the judging, the elders on hand in the Hickel Room of Centennial Hall sampled the seaweed, passing the bowls around in delight.

The fun was all part of Sealaska Heritage Institute’s biennial Celebration, held every two years. The Heritage Institute was founded in 1980 to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding, educating the world about the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. The four-day event, which wraps up on Saturday June 11, is an extravaganza of dance, art, music and other cultural offerings. 

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