Ag secretary to attend Klawock ceremony

Posted: Friday, September 26, 2008

KETCHIKAN - Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, the cabinet-level head of the U.S. Forest Service, will attend a historic tribal ceremony on Prince of Wales Island, as tribal leaders rebury the remains of a man who lived on the island more than 10,000 years ago.

The communities of Klawock and Craig will host the commemoration today and Saturday.

Tribal leaders and elders, along with hundreds of guests, will honor and welcome home their ancestor, referred to as Shuká Kaa, the "Man ahead of us," over the two days.

The remains were discovered in 1996 during archaeological inspections in a small cave on Prince of Wales, within the Tongass National Forest. Mitochondrial DNA testing identified the young man as Native American. The remains were returned to the tribes in a separate ceremony last summer, and will be permanently interred in a private tribal location.

Secretary Schafer will arrive on Prince of Wales today, along with Alaska Regional Forester Denny Bschor, from Juneau, and Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole, from Ketchikan. The group will tour historic and important tribal locations, and will also participate in the community dinner and ceremonies.

For more information on the ceremony or the discovery of Shuká Kaa, contact the Tlingit tribal offices in Klawock, at 907-755-2265.

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