Tazlina Is Recovering Its Homeland!WITH GRATITUDE
The Village of Tazlina is purchasing its homeland, a 412-acre parcel of land along the Copper River.
With our deepest gratitude and appreciation, the Native Village of Tazlina wishes to acknowledge and thank the many supporters and contributors who are making it possible for our Village to secure our traditional homelands. Tribal leaders say “this is an answer to a prayer.” What were once indigenous Ahtna hunting and fishing lands will now be returned to our people. This gift of life means we can walk and fish on the land on where our ancestors walked, for which we are profoundly thankful.
From Ancient Cultural Homelands to Boarding School Site
The Native Village of Tazlina is working to bring the story of our homelands back full circle.
The Village anticipates closing in summer, 2023 on the purchase of 412 acres of land along the Copper River, land that encompasses traditional, subsistence fish-wheel sites along the river. Land that has archeological home sites dated to 300 – 700 years old (NPS, 2019). This culturally-significant, resource rich land was sold in 1954 by the U.S. Congress, at the nominal price of $500, to the Catholic Church’s Archdiocese of Anchorage for establishing the Copper Valley School.
The boarding school served as a regional education hub for two decades, educating many of today’s Alaska Native, business, and community leaders.
But the school was closed in 1971 and a fire destroyed the facility in 1976, turning the site into a “brownfield” of toxic wastes. Asbestos, lead paint, abandoned fuel tanks, and building infrastructure debris created a hazardous waste field that sat in the midst of the Village community for three decades.
Repatriate Homelands for Cultural and Subsistence Preservation
Tazlina tribal leadership held a two-day, Vision to Action workshop in 2011 that initiated remediation of the burned school facility brownfield site. After an EPA and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation-approved clean up of the land, conducted by the Archdiocese of Anchorage in 2014, and a fundraising campaign from 2018 – 2022, the Archdiocese is selling the land to the Native Village of Tazlina for $1,673,185.
In the Tribe’s vision, the 462-acre parcel will once again serve as a cultural gathering place for village members, Ahtna Natives, and visitors.
The property will host subsistence use fish wheels (and contribute to fisheries research), a community garden, a green-energy community hall and cultural center, a tribal college, and a church hall. A conservation easement will be added to a portion of the river shoreline land, protecting subsistence fish wheel sites in perpetuity.