By Penny Eubanks
May 13, 2005
Just in the past 10 years a young man by the name of Chris Makua was buried with honor on Pennock island. Chris lived in Saxman and was an integral member of the Native society of Saxman. While serving as a watchman in the Saxman area one summer, I had the privilege to attend a potlatch ceremony. Chris Makua performed a dance at the end of the ceremony which depicted the affects of alcohol on the Native society. It was a chills down the spine, hair raising performance as he stomped and whirled and threw his spirit into the dance - a very memorable experience for me. I also recall Chris once when we had trekked through the woods to a remote beach on the south end, only to find Chris already there tossing rocks out of the way from the water line to the top of the high tide line. He didn't say a word the whole time we were there. We wondered what in the world he was doing, later to find out that he was clearing the way to bring a cedar log onto the beach to a pit area where the log would be steamed and worked over in the traditional Native way to build a long boat, one which he never got to finish due to his early demise.
I never really "knew" Chris, but I admired him for continuing to keep native traditions alive. I know that Chris is not the only person buried on Pennock, I even not knowing Don Hoff trust that he is correct in his statements of many burial sites on Pennock. I also know that studies will be or have been done regarding the historical/archeological value of the island and that we will not desecrate any Native grave sites in order to build the "boondoggle" bridge. I think that not every piece of ground on Pennock contains grave sites, otherwise Don would surely be voicing complaints about the houses that are built on Pennock. Even though I am not totally in favor of the bridge - it may band aide the community for a brief time while being built, but will be an eyesore to our lovely Tongass Narrows, I do feel that it can share the island with Native grave sites without desecrating them. And this is only my "humble" opinion!
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.