Tribe seeks to buy traditional fishing grounds

A fundraiser is underway by the Native Village of Tazlina Tribal Council to purchase a 462-acre parcel of land that the tribe wants to protect as its traditional Copper River fishing grounds.

The acreage at the confluence of the Copper and Tazlina rivers is the former site of the Copper Valley Catholic Boarding School, which operated from 1956 to 1971 and is a reclaimed brownfield.  It is also an area of ancient village sites and tribal fishing grounds.

“The Tazlina Village Council goal is to protect these fishing sites, and we want to sustain fisheries in the Copper River,” said Gloria Stickwan, council president. “If this land is sold, our fishing sites will be taken away from tribal members.”

The tribe’s plan, developed under the leadership of the late Johnny Goodlataw, is described by the tribe as a community-based stewardship vision. It includes protecting traditional fishing grounds/village sites, developing a tribal college, cultural center/museum, community hall, recreation area/playground, community garden, and church; as well as preservation of cultural resources, fisheries research and future riverbank erosion mitigation.

Contributions are already coming in.

Robert Henrichs former chair of the Native Village of Eyak and chair of the Alaska Village Initiatives has donated $1,000 to the cause. So have former Cordova residents Bruce and Shirley Cain, the tribal council said.

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Donations can be sent to the Native Village of Tazlina Land Fund, P.O. Box 87, Glennallen, Alaska, 99588. More information about the campaign can be found by contacting the Native Village of Tazlina at 907-822-4375, or emailing Heide Lingenfelter, tribal administrator, at [email protected].

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