Haines: Chilkoot association hosts Harvard visitors

Posted: Sunday, May 26, 2002

The Chilkoot Indian Association showed off its assets last week to a group from Harvard University School of Government.

The tribe was recently nominated for one of Harvard's 16 tribal nation-building awards for community development.

During his two-day visit, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development executive director Andrew Lee toured the valley, met community leaders and visited facilities including the medical clinic and local schools.

Lee said the Chilkoots deserve recognition for progress the tribe made in developing community ties.

"We read about what the Chilkoot have accomplished, but to gain a full understanding about what the tribe is doing, we wanted to come here and see. It's one thing to read about it but it's quite another to see it and meet the people responsible."

The Harvard program chose the Chilkoots for the recognition based in part on a recommendation from Sealaska Heritage Institute president Rosita Worl. Worl said the CIA's approach to building community relationships is unique among Indian tribes around the country.

"We saw the CIA taking an innovative approach. What's unique is that they're working with the city, the federal government, and the Army on different projects. The CIA demonstrates that tribes aren't something to be afraid of. They're not divisive, instead they're part of the community."

Lee will visit each of the 16 national finalists for the Harvard award prior to June 18, when eight will be chosen for top honors at a ceremony in North Dakota.

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