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Sealaska to contribute 12 logs toward Shakes Island renovation project

Posted: February 5, 2012 - 1:01am

Sealaska directors approved donating 12 logs for the Wrangell Cooperative Association (WCA) Shakes Island renovation project. The log donation request was approved at the January regular board meeting.

“WCA would like to thank Sealaska for the generous log donation,” said WCA President Dawn Hutchinson-Stevens.

“From the beginning the biggest challenge has been finding logs large enough to replace the corner posts of the structure. With this generous donation of 12 logs, we feel assured we will be able to complete the important cultural restoration of Chief Shakes house.”

Sealaska’s natural resources represent culture, community and commerce. Log donations by Sealaska have been supporting projects like Wrangell’s for years. A few highlights of other projects include:

• Replicating totems in Hydaburg Totem Park

• Eagle totem at University of Alaska Southeast

• Ocean-going canoe on permanent exhibit at Smithsonian Institute

• Klawock carving shed

• Klukwan long house cultural wellness project

“When Sealaska steps forward with its logs, the end result is not in dollars,” said Sealaska Chair Albert Kookesh. “The end result is where that community stands after they rebuild.”

WCA, the federally recognized tribe for Wrangell, requested six red and six yellow cedar logs to support the Shakes Island renovation. WCA approached Sealaska after securing logs from the U.S. Forest Service and after purchasing logs as well.

“The logs donated by Sealaska represent a partnership,” said Kookesh. “It’s a partnership because resources have been solicited from the Forest Service as well as WCA purchasing logs. It shows a willingness to go forward on their own.”

“Sealaska is not just about jobs, or dividends, but about building communities and sustaining our cultures,” said Sealaska Vice Chair Rosita Worl. “It’s exciting to see the progress taking place in Wrangell. During the first years of the biennial event Celebration, Wrangell was represented by only a few individuals. Now we see a cultural revitalization, people acknowledging their culture and seeking the recognition and ownership of their cultural objects.”

Sealaska welcomes log donation requests from clans, Native communities and Native organizations physically located in Southeast Alaska’s ANCSA and Landless communities. Individuals are not eligible.

The Shakes Island tribal house was completed in 1940 and built by collaboration between the Civilian Conservation Corp., the Forest Service and the local Tlingit tribe. Except for minor repairs, no major reconstruction has taken place to the structure. Because the tribal house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the replacement timbers must be hand adzed.

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