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JUNEAU (AP) — Juneau is considering giving a former Tlingit village site on Auke Bay to a nonprofit dedicated to Aak’w KwŠan heritage.
The land, which was acquired by the federal government before ending up in municipal hands in the 1960s, is commonly known as Indian Point, KTOO-FM reported Monday.
Former Juneau Assemblyman Randy Wanamaker, 73, wrote the city’s leaders last month to recommend they give the land to the Goldbelt Heritage Foundation.
“This is a south-facing, waterfront lot with beautiful views of Auke Bay,” said Greg Chaney, lands manager for the City and Borough of Juneau. “Which is the exactly the reason that the Native people selected it for their village site so many centuries ago.”
The way Indian Point was obtained by the federal government has been questioned by experts.
“The federal government did not consult with the Alaska Native people when they dispossessed them of their land,” Wanamaker said. “They just took it away.”
Anthropologist Tom Thornton, who investigated the†††† cultural value of Indian Point on behalf of the federal government in the 1990s, said the government burned cabins to move Native people off of the Tongass forest land.
“And the Forest Service always denied that until they stopped denying it and then apologized for it,” said Thornton, who is a professor at the University of Oxford.
The Forest Service first acknowledged in 2008 that it had wrongly removed fish camps and smokehouses, vital for the subsistence lifestyle, in the early 20th century.
Indian Point was listed last year on the National Register of Historic Places. It was almost cut up in the 1960s for a housing subdivision. Opposition by the Alaska Native Brotherhood and others put a stop to that.
The lands committee is scheduled to consider giving the land to the nonprofit at a meeting Oct. 23.
Information from: KTOO-FM, http://www.ktoo.org