Naay I’waans (The Great House) Re-dedication Ceremony
By Rep. Dan Ortiz
September 06, 2016
Saturday was a beautiful day in southern Southeast. The events began in Kasaan with a canoe arrival of visiting paddlers from Ketchikan, Klawock, and Juneau. The canoes were invited on shore by Kasaan resident, formally of Saxman, John McAllister. Several talented Haida and Tlingit dance groups performed at the beginning of the re-dedication ceremony, as well as at the community dinner held at the end of that special day.
This restoration and re-dedication project officially began in 2011 by the efforts of the Organized Village of Kasaan. It quickly received island-wide support from most communities on Prince of Wales, especially Hydaburg. The events of the re-dedication ceremony, which unfolded seamlessly, and the longhouse restoration process, required coordinated efforts of countless volunteers from Kasaan, Hydaburg and many others from the communities on Prince of Wales Island. At the risk of leaving some out, the following people should be thanked for their role in organizing the re-dedication ceremony, and the re-dedication project itself: Ron Leighton, the Organized Village of Kasaan Tribal Council President; Julie Coburn, a Kasaan elder, Tony Christiansen, Hydaburg Mayor; John McAllister, current Chief Son-i-Hat; Fred Olsen, Kasaan resident; and Stormy Hamar and his crew who did the actual restoration work of Naay l’waans with traditional Haida building methods.
The achievement of restoring the Naay L’Waans (The Great House) and the day’s celebrations were phenomenal, and required the monumental efforts of many. I was fortunate to have attended this historic event. Thank you again to all who made that day possible.
Received August 02, 2016 - Published August 06, 2016
About: Ortiz is an independent member of the Alaska House of Representatives, who has since 2015 represented the 36th District. He is the only independent in the Alaska State Legislature.
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