The two totem poles that stood for 36 years in Juneau’s old Indian Village have been hauled off.
A work crew with a 12-ton boom truck pulled the delicate poles and hauled them to a warehouse Tuesday. They had deteriorated badly over the years, but were taken away more or less intact.
Ricardo Worl is the president and CEO of The Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority, which owns the Gajaa Hít building where the totem poles stood.
“There’s a lot of discussion as to what would be the best and most appropriate solution and what we’re going to do with them,” Worl said. “We even talked about letting them lie in state, here in the village.”
Fear of vandalism and concerns that pedestrians wouldn’t properly respect them have cooled that idea, Worl said.
“So for now, we’re going to bring them to the housing authority warehouse, let them dry out inside the warehouse, and then we’ll decide what we’re gonna do with it from there,” he said.
Brian Wallace was a teenager when he watched the late Edward Kunz Sr. carve the poles. Tuesday, Wallace happened to be passing by and stopped to watch.
“It’s mixed emotions, you know? Seeing something like this, and I don’t know how well it can be restored, or if it’s going back to the spirit of the forest,” Wallace said.
Worl said parts may be salvaged for indoor display.
Meanwhile, a pair of Haida carving brothers that Sealaska Heritage Institute commissioned have completed the new totem poles and nearly finished the new screen that will replace the warehoused ones.
Worl said the target date for raising the new poles is Sept. 29.
- This week, 88 Energy announced they've started setting up a rig on the North Slope to drill a second well for Project Icewine. According to a recent 88 Energy presentation, the company thinks its leases may hold between 1.4 and 3.6 billion barrels of oil.
- The state is fining oil and gas company Hilcorp an additional $160,000 for using nitrogen without permission while working on two wells in 2015 -- the same practice that nearly killed three North Slope workers.
- Roughly 6,000 state workers were unable to log in to their computers, affecting two in five executive branch workers.
- The totem pole is an icon of the Pacific Northwest. The carved art form showcases clan stories and family crests in museums around the world. After more than 30 years in the Anchorage Museum, a century-old pole from Southeast has made it back to Sitka, where curators are prepping a permanent home.