Grant will speed restoration of Haida longhouse

KASAAN, Alaska — A grant will help speed restoration of the oldest Haida longhouse in Alaska.

The original house was built 130 years ago by Haida chief Son-i-Hat. It was known as called Naay I’waans, The Great House, though many call it the Whale House for its carvings inside.

Like most wood structures do in the rain forest, it deteriorated over time.

The Civilian Conservation Corps, a Depression-era work program, rebuilt it in the 1930s in Kasaan, a village on the eastern side of Prince of Wales Island, about 30 miles northwest of Ketchikan. But it again needs repairs.

“It’s a matter of our cultural revitalization, showing that we’re still here and part of these lands,” Richard Peterson, president of the Tribal Council for the Organized Village of Kasaan, told CoastAlaska (http://is.gd/lbTcnK).

The tribal government has partnered with the Native village corporation Kavilco, and its cultural arm, the Kasaan Haida Heritage Foundation.

“A lot of the building is still in really good condition. Some of the supports are what’s failing. I think we’re fortunate enough that we don’t need a total reconstruction, so we want to maintain as much as we can,” Peterson said.

Full repairs were estimated to be $2 million. The plans were scaled back to about $1.4 million, and work was to be completed in phases as money became available.

The Anchorage-based Rasmuson Foundation in November awarded the $450,000 grant. That, Peterson said, is about enough to complete the work when it’s added to funds provided by the tribal government and its partners.

“So right now, we’re milling up the logs and they’re going to hand-adz all of the timbers. And we’re just going in and starting to secure up some of the corners that are dropping down. It’s been a really exciting project,” Peterson said.

Peterson is hopeful the work can be completed in about two years. Once it is done, the tribe will host a celebration.

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

County frees up $1.6M for Everett’s low-barrier housing

The plan appears on track for the City Council to transfer land ahead of next month’s groundbreaking.

Jamie Copeland is a senior at Cedar Park Christian Schools’ Mountlake Terrace campus. She is a basketball player, ASB president, cheerleader and, of course, a Lion. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Cedar Park Christian senior stepping up to new challenges

Jamie Copeland’s academics include STEM studies, leadership, ASB activities, honor society.

Most Read