Sealaska directors unanimously approved a resolution to deed Sealaska land in Wrangell to the federally recognized tribe, Wrangell Cooperative Association.
The land is the location of Kiks.ádi Totem Park, dedicated in 1987. The land transfer was made official at the 2018 Sealaska annual meeting in Wrangell, Alaska.
"It has always been Wrangell and the Wrangell Native community that had the land," said Sealaska director and Wrangell native Richard Rinehart. "Because Sealaska has always been supportive of all the landless communities and really took the land in the first place to keep it in Native ownership, we passed a resolution to transfer the totem park to the Wrangell Cooperative Association."
The park was named for the Kiks.ádi Totem (Kahlteen Totem) originally raised in 1895 to honor Kiks.ádi clan leader Chief Kahlteen. A replica of the Kiks.ádi Totem was raised in 1987 and was carved without the use of power tools. The park is located in front of the lot, where the most recent Kiks.ádi, Gagaan Hít (Sun House) stood.
Sealaska purchased the land in 1987 from the Alaska Pulp Corporation. In 1971, the federal government enacted the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, which created over 200 regional and local native corporations that received land and funds. Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Tenakee and Wrangell were left out of receiving land and are therefore known as "landless communities" in Southeast Alaska.
In the news: