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Alaska Airlines Unveils Special ‘Salmon People’ Livery by Native Artist Crystal Worl

Updated: May 12, 2023

Alaska Airlines has today revealed a new special Boeing 737-800 livery designed by native artist Crystal Worl. The aircraft has been named Xáat Kwáani (Salmon People), and is the first aircraft in the history of any domestic airline named in an Alaska Native language.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 Named Xáat Kwáani (Salmon People) Featuring Bespoke Livery by Native Artist Crystal Worl - Courtesy Alaska Airlines

On Thursday (May 11, 2023), Alaska Airlines revealed a new bespoke Boeing 737-800 livery designed by native artist Crystal Kaakeeyáa Rose Demientieff Worl. The aircraft has been named Xáat Kwáani (Salmon People), and is the first-ever aircraft in the history of any domestic airline to be named in an Alaska Native language, and to depict the ancestral importance through Northwest Coast formline art. Crystal grew up near the shores of Juneau, and was used to seeing Alaska Airlines aircraft fly over the mountains into her hometown.

Alaskan Native Artist Crystal Kaakeeyáa Rose Demientieff Worl - Courtesy Alaska Airlines

Speaking about the experience, Crystal said,

“Every time I looked at an Alaska plane, I couldn’t help but visualize the salmon being in formline, or having some sort of design that represents identity. I can’t help but look at things and see how to Indigenize them.”

Further commenting on the aircraft livery design reveal, she said,

“My heart is so full and warm. Every time I create something big or small, it’s the same feeling of just fulfilling this need and wanting to create something and share my story, to stimulate something that’s in me that feels connected. It feels good to say that I live in Juneau and fish and hunt here and eat off this land. My family’s been here for a long time, and I can say my ancestors are from here, and I’m eating the same food in the same place that they once were, and that’s really special to be able to share that and say that and feel that—and to create and retell their stories through my eyes. It’s powerful.

“When people look at my art, I hope they feel inspired, they feel motivated, but I also want them to know, it’s not easy, it’s challenging. There’s a lot of things people don’t see … they see the end piece, which is the outcome of a lot of hard work … a lot of sweat, blood. Every piece I’ve done, that gets bigger and bigger, my life has been building up to it. And I’ve been working really hard to get there.

“This will be significant to have Indigenous language on an airplane. People will see it, they’ll read it, they’ll try to say ‘Xáat Kwáani’ (Salmon People), and they’ll want to know more and be curious to learn about it and want to feel connected to it. I think that’s significant in terms of the relationship we need to make between our languages that need speakers. So, I’m excited to be part of this.”

Alaska Airlines' 'Salmon People' Aircraft - Courtesy Alaska Airlines

Also commenting on the artistic collaboration, Alaska Airlines’ Regional Vice President – Alaska, Marilyn Romano, said,

“Having read about Crystal, seen her murals in Juneau and Anchorage and knowing her love of monumental art, she came to mind when we had the opportunity to paint a very large canvas— a 737-800. Only this time, instead of remaining stationary and having viewers come to the art, we will take the art everywhere this plane flies, inviting guests to learn more about Alaska Native and Native American history, art, culture and language.”

Timelapse Video of the Creation of Alaska's 'Salmon People' Livery - Courtesy Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines and their regional partners serve over 120 destinations in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica and Belize. The sustainability-focused carrier emphasizes Next-Level Care for guests, while offering low fares and award-winning service. Alaska has hubs in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland and Anchorage. The carrier is a member of the oneworld global alliance, and along with their additional partners, Alaska Airlines’ guests can earn and redeem miles on flights to more than 1,000 global destinations on over 20 airlines. Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air are subsidiaries of the Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE: ALK).

Source: Alaska Airlines

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