Organized Village of Kasaan begins fund-raising for Naay I’waans rededication event

KASAAN — The Organized Village of Kasaan recently began fund-raising efforts in support of a re-dedication event for Naay I’waans, the Chief Son-i-hat Whale House. The re-dedication of Naay I’waans will take place on Sept. 3, 2016.

The Chief Son-i-Hat Whale House, also known as Naay I’waans “great house” is the only remaining Haida Clan House in Alaska, a rare example of traditional Haida carving techniques and architecture in its original location. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 11, 2002, and was named as one of the “10 Most Endangered Historic Properties – 2012” by the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation. Located in the community of Kasaan on Prince of Wales Island in southern Southeast Alaska, the structure was on the verge of complete collapse from old age and disrepair before restoration efforts began three years ago.

The restoration project has been undertaken by the OVK in collaboration with the Kasaan Haida Heritage Foundation and KAVILCO, Inc., owners of Naay I’waans. Since 2013, OVK has employed a team of carvers using traditional tools and construction techniques to completely renovate the Whale House. Rather than construct a completely new replica building with all new wood, the project has been utilizing as much of the original structure and wood as possible. This decision was made in large part to honor the work that went into the original reconstruction effort in 1938-39. Descendants of many of the Haida carvers who were involved in original reconstruction over 75 years ago continue to live in Hydaburg and Kasaan.

According to a release from the Organized Village of Kasaan, Chief Son-i-Hat (Kóyongxung) of the Yádas (Eagle) clan, was born in 1829, and was considered one of the wealthiest of the Kaigani Haida chiefs in what is now Southeast Alaska. In 1880 Chief Son-i-Hat moved his family from the original Haida village of Gasa’aan (known today as “Old Kasaan”) and built Naay I’waans on the shores of Kasaan Bay, about a mile from where the current village of Kasaan now stands. Chief Son-i-Hat lived there with his family until 1915.

Major donors for the rededication event include Rasmuson Foundation, Sealaska Corporation, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, Kasaan Haida Heritage Foundation, POWTEC Holding Company, MRV Architects, Southeast Road Builders, and Simpson, Tillinghast, Sorensen, & Sheehan, P,C.

For more information on the ongoing fund-raising campaign, contact Paula Peterson, OVK Tribal Administrator, (907) 542-2230. Contributions can be mailed to: Organized Village of Kasaan, PO Box 26, Kasaan, AK. 99950-0340, or made on the Tribe’s website:

More in Neighbors

Gimme a Smile: Living in a time of greatness

We are living in a time of greatness.

Jane Hale (Courtesy Photo)
Coming Out: A living name

Names that live and breathe like we do, and that sometimes change like we do.

Laura Rorem (Courtesy Photo)
Living & Growing: Let faith be our social media guide

“What is our responsibility as people of faith in addressing the toxic reality of social media?

Slack Tide: Good day, sunshine

Good morning, good morning, here comes the sun king.

(Courtesy Photo)
Living & Growning: Building vibrant communities together

Collectively, we know there is work to be done to build a better tomorrow.

Jane Hale (Courtesy Photo)
Coming Out: My second skin

I’m sloughing off those old pernicious ideas and wearing a second skin.

Living & Growing: Finding strength

Reaching out for help is strength not weakness.

Motherhood is an incredible undertaking — just laundry and dishes, alone. And the rewards? Well, the rewards usually entail more laundry and dishes. So much laundry and dishes. (Unsplash / Jeremy McKnight)
Slack Tide: Whoah, Mama! Mother’s Day 2022

Break out the white wine and Dansko clogs.

Joab Cano
Living & Growing: Following Christ

What does it mean to follow Christ?

Michelle Bonnet Hale (Courtesy Photo)
Coming Out: Dodged that bullet

“You deserve your own process.”

Judy Hale Young (Courtesy Photo)
Coming Out: What Jim and Judy Knew

By Judy Hale Young We knew. My twin brother and I, even… Continue reading