411-in-the-533 July

Written by
AlexAnna Salmon
05 July 2019

Igiugig Village Council is in full-tilt action mode, which has not afforded me the chance to provide a newsletter update. Since my last update (April 2018), these have been IVC highlights:

  - We are in Year 2 of 3 of our Alaska Native Education “Communities Teaching Culture” program which operates cultural programs in 13 villages with open schools in LPSD. I continue to serve as a part time project director and Michelle Ravenmoon remains the summer project director. Renae Zackar runs the program locally and continues to do an outstanding job in Igiugig.

  - Our Department of Energy funded RivGen® project received its FERC permit on May 23, 2019 making IVC the first tribal entity to receive this designation. It’s a temporary 10 year license to pilot the project. There has been plenty of media coverage on our advances:

We are gearing up to host a RivGen celebration on July 16, 2019 and expect many of our project supporters to visit Igiugig.

  - IVC was awarded $600,000 from the HUD Indian Community Development Block Grant (ICDBG) program for our Community Cultural Center. This has been listed in the comprehensive plan as a top-three priority since 2007. This project is my final project for a Master’s Degree from UAF in Rural Development. I will be responsible for the community informed design process, and the sustainability and long-term maintenance plan. Our grant writing team, Halay Turning Heart and Michelle DeCorso, along with our architect partner Jim Cutler, put together a funding request in January for the initial site development. Quyana grant writing team and partner, HUD awarded the funds in June 2019. Year 1 will be the environmental review record and permitting for the construction, as well as securing the additional $1 million for the project. And year 2022 the construction will be completed. We held a planning meeting June 6th to design the research interview questions and to share ideas of our dream cultural center.

  - IVC purchased its very first Native Allotment, made possible by a strong partnership with the New Ventures Fund, WildArk, and the Igiugig Native Corporation. We initiated the purchase with Martin Wassillie, and his heirs followed through postprobate. Quyana cakneq to the family because our goal is to preserve this important salmon spawning and rearing habitat for future generations, and to save from outside-initiated development. The archaeological site was mitigated between an agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the owners, and the village. All of this took considerable time, effort, planning and execution on all parties involved. We will be hosting a fall “Peck’s Creek Celebration”. This work is the beginning of a large land-consolidation strategy of the tribe, as part of our overall Igyaramiuni Ciunerkaput “Our Sustainable Future” project. We are currently working on two additional river-side Native Allotments. We have the benefit of the Native American Rights Fund attorney in developing our tribal ordinances and codes over the tribal territory.

  - IVC has the monitoring contract from AAHP for Qasgivik, the Peck’s Creek village site. Quyana to our “archeologiston-retainer” Monty Rogers for working with our locals to monitor that site. BIA further investigations of our own research has proven that the former record of Old Igiugig’s location is, surprise, where our elders told us it was. Their historical record is being revised, as we reach a point in time where our own NPS funded project “Old Igiugig Nomination to the Historic Register” is about to be submitted. This grant project helped fund our Washington DC trip and our red-carpet Smithsonian Museum of Natural History tour.

Other than these very large, overarching initiatives, it has been business-as-usual. We have continued Unglu, or our language nest to encourage Yup’ik as a first language for our newbornpreschool age group. We have continued our plans to develop the Diamond Point rock quarry and will be blasting this summer, and Iliaska Environmental has been hard at work preparing to continue monitoring and debris removal at Big Mountain. This brings us fairly current on Igiugig updates, and I will try to do a better job at keeping up. It is difficult carrying this load of paperwork and posse of young children, a.k.a. “my little helpers” that sometimes help too much. I sure appreciate every gesture this community does to help. Sometimes it is Auntie Betsy with a fresh blueberry pie, or my Glusna Annie with endless homemade bread. My mom often naps the twins in the middle of the workday. I am so thankful Tess came home to help with all of these special projects IVC wants to pursue, and offer assistance for the language program to continue. Many adults have supervised kids at the beach so parents can continue working. It turns out that 70% of the IVC workforce are women, and many of us are raising our children alongside, so I speak for all of us when I say Quyana for all of the help making this village run. Igyaraq Akwanun! (Igiugig Forever!)

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tel: +1 907-533-3211

Igiugig Tribal Village Council

PO Box 4008
Igiugig, AK 99613

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