Planners of Alutiiq Ancestors’ Memorial Request Use of City Property

Draft design plan. Courtesy of Alutiiq Museum

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The organizers behind a proposed Alutiiq Ancestors’ Memorial are seeking the Kodiak City Council’s support. The group requested a site that belongs to the city, and will present to the council at its work session tonight.

The memorial idea comes from the recent return of ancestral remains that archeologists took from Chirikof Island in the 1960s. Another such repatriation took place in the 1990s.

Alutiiq Museum executive director April Laktonen Counceller says the memorial will honor those ancestors.

She says originally they had planned to rebury the Chirikof remains at the proposed site.

Due to zoning issues, they’re now considering the city cemetery as the re-internment spot and designing the park as a space for learning and for celebration of the Alutiiq people.

“I feel like there is something sort of special and unique about the indigenous heritage for any location, and we haven’t really had a public outdoor space where people could kinda come together and learn about these things in the past.”

At the meeting, the museum will assure the council of how minimal a financial investment the city would need to make. Counceller says the museum has the ability to cover the project’s budget, which falls at around $150,000.

She says in exchange for the plot of land on the corner of Kashevaroff and Upper Mill Bay Road, the museum would fundraise and provide ongoing maintenance.

A draft plan shows a rectangular lot roughly 120 feet long and Counceller says they’re still planning what the park will look like.

“And it’s just gonna have sort of a winding path, but at the center of the memorial will be a large concrete ring, and the center of that ring we’re planning to have planted with forget-me-not flowers, sort of as a memorial touch, and then also we’re intending to have a marker that will commemorate the repatriations, which will be sort of in one corner of the park.”

Counceller says a steering committee will have say over how the memorial develops, and they hope to establish the park by the end of next summer.

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