Sealaska Heritage Institute has acquired a Chilkat robe that was to be auctioned off on eBay on Wednesday. After the seller learned the robe was a sacred item, he allowed SHI to purchase it at the reserve price of $14,500. There were already multiple bids.
Typically, these objects can fetch upwards of $30,000.
The seller, George Blucker, bought the robe at an Illinois flea market 25 years ago. He thought it was a fake, but that seller told him it was purchased at an estate sale and had been brought back sometime after the Yukon gold rush.
The clan of origin is unknown. The robe is a Raven design and appears to be funerary object.
In a statement, Blucker said when he learned the robe had “religious significance” and a “spiritual presence,” he knew it needed to return home.
SHI expects the robe to arrive in Juneau later next week.
- A lawsuit filed in federal court this week seeks to remove the residency requirement for people gathering signatures for state ballot initiatives.
- For the second time in two years, a Skagway political figure has been ordered to pay a fine for incomplete financial disclosures. Assembly hopeful Dan Henry failed to disclose substantial debt on his candidate paperwork. He will still be able to run for office in the upcoming election.
- Administration officials have a mouthful of a name for it: the “capped hybrid head tax.” It's a flat 1.5 percent of wages and self-employment income, with a maximum of twice the value of that year's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
- A federal district court has sided with conservationists fighting to preserve the U.S. Forest Service's "roadless rule" that limits road building in national forests. Alaska conservationists opposed to expanded logging in Tongass National Forest hailed the ruling as a victory.