September – November in SEED Lab will feature an installation of a Tlingit Seclusion Hut, a project of traditional Tlingit healer Meda DeWitt.
Women’s health encompasses aspects both physical, psychological, and spiritual. Puberty and menstruation, childbirth, and menopause are moments of marked transition and adjustment. In Indigenous cultures, ceremony and seclusion were important communal means of recognizing changes and welcoming a woman into a new phase of life.
In Tlingit culture, seclusion huts were used by women during menstruation. Seclusion was an important ritual based in beliefs around women’s power and the need to treat this power with care and with caution. These were places where women shared knowledge and ceremony, and where holistic intergenerational learning and exchange took place.
Tlingit traditional healer Meda Dewitt’s reconstruction of a typical Tlingit seclusion hut at SEED Lab, in collaboration with Yádi Olson, will be a space to learn about the importance of seclusion rituals in Indigenous lifeways. Dewitt will host workshops in the hut where she will share knowledge about the purpose of ceremony, as well as how these practices connect people to land, to ancestral knowledge, and to each other.