“We want Indigenous people to look at Anchorage as their place because it always has been,” said Melissa Shaginoff, an Ahtna artist from the Chickaloon Tribe who designed the iron artwork that adorns the signs.
Gov. Dunleavy said improvements in technology and decreasing costs of renewable power “open up some new and tremendous possibilities for Alaska.”
Cook, a famed British explorer, was in the Anchorage area for short period in May and June of 1778; he and his crew were the first Europeans to reach Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet. His visit is remembered in the oral tradition of the Dena’ina people.
In Alaska, the names of settlers and explorers can be found everywhere: roads, cities, buildings and statues — all reminders of Alaska’s colonization and the impact it has had on the Indigenous population.
It’s a modest step toward establishing a more formal relationship, complicated by a push to tie the measure to ongoing litigation about gambling.
Officials say it will take years before they decide whether to add more water that could help restore salmon in the Eklutna River.
In Alaska, the conversation around land acknowledgments is relatively new. But it’s picking up momentum. And in Anchorage, that means putting the region’s Indigenous heritage front and center.