Longtime members of Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp 2 are gearing up to use a $35,000 grant from the National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund to document and preserve a slice of local Native history.
"The purpose of the grant is to record the history of a group of women who have helped shape the history of Juneau, as well as the territory and state of Alaska," said Alberta Aspen, president of Camp 2.
The grant, titled "Together We Are Strong: A History of the Alaska Native Sisterhood, Camp 2," will allow members to conduct and transcribe oral history interviews and original research on the first Alaska Native Sisterhood camp organized in Juneau, a camp founded almost 80 years ago. The grant, awarded through the auspices of the Tlingit-Haida Central Council, also will be used to collect and archive historic photographs, documents and memorabilia.
"Everyone is aware of the great contribution of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, but little has been written about the
contributions of the Sisterhood," said Aspen.
Dolores Cadiente, assistant project manager, said the group's Historic Preservation Committee will provide direction. "We look to our elders to advise and guide us."
The sisterhood was formed in the 1920s, soon after the brotherhood was founded, and both organizations worked on Native issues from voting rights and encouraging voter registration to equal rights and the settlement of Native land claims.
Aspen said writing the history will be a challenge.
"But we hope it will revitalize our organization create a document that we can use with our younger members, in schools and in Indian Studies programs," she said. "We are losing so many of our older members, we need to get this project completed."
Camp 2 has 150 paid members, Aspen said, but only 15 to 25 are active "a faithful core group that comes to all our meetings and gets things done."
"We hope that other camps will start documenting their history, and eventually we can create a museum," Aspen added.
The group has 18 months to complete the project.
"We're planning to have a luncheon in late August at the ANB Hall, where we will have a scanner so people will not have to part with their memorabilia and photographs," said Kim Metcalfe, project manager.
Metcalfe and the ANS Camp 2 Historic Preservation Committee are seeking memories, documents, photographs of ANS events, news clippings or other historical information that can be incorporated into the book or archives. She can be contacted at 465-2253. Aspen can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 364-2992. Cadiente may be reached at 789-0272.