JUNEAU, Alaska — A movement has begun to return part of Juneau’s land to those who originally inhabited it.
The city and borough of Juneau’s Lands Committee will discuss a proposal to give Indian Point, also known as Auke Cape, back to the Native Alaskan Auk’w Kwaan tribe at its Oct. 23 meeting, Deputy Lands and Resources Manager Dan Bleidorn said Thursday.
The committee plans to discuss the proposal by Goldbelt Heritage Foundation Executive Director Dionne Cadiente-Laiti with the intention of passing it on to the Assembly for consideration, Bleidorn said.
Cadiente-Laiti wrote a letter to Mayor Ken Koelsch and the Juneau Assembly in August that details why she believes the city should, in effect, return the land to the Auk’w Kwaan. The land would go to Goldbelt Heritage, which Cadiente-Laiti wrote “would welcome being the cultural keeper of Indian Point on behalf of and in concert with the Auk’w Kwaan,” the Juneau Empire reported (http://bit.ly/2fo2Hgr ).
In her Aug. 15 letter, Cadiente-Laiti said one goal for the land would be to build a Historic Research Learning Center at the site that aims to conduct research and raise public understanding of the area’s significance. Cadiente-Laiti also wrote of undertaking anthropological studies, hosting educational programs for children, offering internships focused on historical analysis and more.
Indian Point was added last year to the National Register of Historic Places. The land has been out of the tribe’s possession for decades. Juneau owns about two-thirds of the property.
Former Juneau Assembly member Randy Wanamaker said he feels Goldbelt Heritage is much better equipped to make the most of the land than the city.
Having Indian Point back in the hands of its original owners — or at least in the hands of Goldbelt Heritage — would honor the area’s past and present an economic opportunity for Juneau, Wanamaker said.
Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com