The Alutiiq Museum just last week put in its third round of commemorative bricks at the Alutiiq Ancestors Memorial Park. As the museum’s public program manager Djuna Davidson explains, the bricks can commemorate many different things.
“Now we have four different sort of patches of bricks, and we did fundraising campaigns to help support the existence and the ongoing maintenance of the park. So community members were invited to sponsor bricks, honoring their own ancestors, honoring different places. We’ve got everything from places that are meaningful to people, to life mottos, to family, commemorative bricks, memorial bricks, and a couple of different businesses got bricks for themselves,” Davidson said.
The park itself, located next to the museum, is meant to be a contemplative place where people of all backgrounds can enjoy the view and learn a bit while they’re there.
“The Alutiiq Ancestors Memorial is a partnership with the Alutiiq Museum and the City of Kodiak to create a community park in what was previously just an empty lot in downtown Kodiak. And the goal is to create a place that welcomes visitors and honors Alutiiq history by sharing information about Alutiiq history,” Davidson said.
The story that the park tells is one of great importance. It focuses on the museum’s ongoing efforts to repatriate the remains of Alutiiq ancestors.
“There’s some interpretive signs, and the signs tell some story about repatriation efforts that the museum has worked on. And a little bit of information about the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. And then there’s a circular planter that is filled with forget-me-not plants, the Alaska State flower also sort of goes with the theme of a memorial park to honor ancestors and loved ones. And then there is a wooden archway that has 1239 silver salmon cutouts, and each salmon represents one ancestor whose remains have been repatriated to Kodiak Island through the efforts of the museum,” Davidson said.
Davidson encourages anyone interested in supporting the park to do so by participating in the park’s annual cleanup. Those interested can reach Djuna Davidson at email@example.com.