The Lingít community was hit hard when the community church was shuttered in a move considered racist.
The totem pole was created for Goldbelt Heritage Foundation and Douglas Indian Association, as part of a healing process for the T’aaḵú Ḵwáan Tlingit tribe. The pole memorializes the deliberate burning of Akáx Yaa Andagán, the Douglas Indian village, in 1962 and honors the residents who lost their homes.
Members of the T’aaḵú Ḵwáan gathered Tuesday at Savikko Park in Douglas for the raising of the Yanyeidì Gooch kootéeyaa, or Wolf totem pole.
The somber ceremony is the beginning of the T’aak̲u K̲wáan tribal government’s plans to formally recognize historic trauma and begin healing. The 26-foot Raven Pole honors the Gaanaxteidí clan of the T’aak̲u K̲wáan, leaf of devil’s club that represents healing and a carved staff which represents the end of grieving.
In 1962, the Douglas Indian Village was set ablaze to make way for a new harbor. This month marks 53 years since the city displaced households of Tlingit T’aaku Kwáan families.