Native Village of Eyak Celebrates Land Donation
CORDOVA, Alaska -- The Native Village of Eyak (NVE) has announced that property on Prince William Sound's Mummy Island was donated to the village on December 7, 2009, by Ecotrust, a non-profit group based in Portland, Ore., whose mission is to inspire fresh thinking that creates economic opportunity, social equity and environmental well-being.
In a special session with NVE Tribal Council, Ecotrust's Craig Jacobsen, Vice President, Community Ecosystem Services, and Erica Valentine, Director of the Copper River Program, presented the property title to NVE President Robert Henrichs, and Executive Director Bruce Cain. This property exchange culminates seven years of Ecotrust and NVE partnership in various projects.
"The Native Village of Eyak would like to sincerely thank Ecotrust for repatriation of this important land to the Tribe. This is a cornerstone we will build on in the future," stated Henrichs.
The Mummy Island property is of ancient significance to the Chugach people. It was at various times home to the Shallow Water people, a burial site, and a clam cannery. Picturesque weathered trees overhang a beach strewn with barnacle-covered rocks and clam shells.
The day after Ecotrust's presentation of the Mummy Island property title, a small group of NVE Staff and Tribal Members made their way across winter waters to the property. As they walked among the moss covered trees inspecting buildings, making notes for repairs, and stopping to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for return of the land to the tribe, Lennette Ronnegard said, "Our relatives have been here. I feel their presence like a comforter. It is so beautiful."
As they celebrate the return of the Mummy Island parcel of land, NVE plans to culturally preserve the property and use it to create a spirit camp.