It took a quarter-century for it to happen, but Ladd Macaulay’s vision has come to fruition, and it’s happening this Saturday.
Macaulay, the namesake of the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery and founder of Douglas Island Pink and Chum (DIPAC), envisioned two totem poles at the hatchery to honor the Alaska Native community. The hatchery, built in 1990, will be raising two totem poles Saturday, and DIPAC Executive Director Eric Prestegard is relieved to be seeing Macaulay’s vision through.
“It’s taken us a while to finally get there,” Prestegard said, “but we’re finally doing it.”
The poles — honoring the raven and eagle moieties of the Tlingit — will be unveiled during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday. The ceremony will include speeches from elders and Gov. Bill Walker, along with dances, food and drink.
Tlingit carver Reggie Peterson, who was born in Juneau but now lives in Sitka, carved the two poles. They will be placed in the hatchery’s alcove out front, facing Egan Drive from its spot on Channel Drive. Prestegard said they’ll be visible from the road, so that whenever people commute between the Mendenhall Valley and downtown Juneau, people will be able to see them.
Though he’s lived in Juneau for 21 years, Prestegard said there was still plenty for him to learn about the construction and meaning of totem poles. From talking with Peterson and keeping up with the carving process, Prestegard learned about the care that a carver puts into the project, from cutting the tree down to designing it to the completion of the pole.
Though Macaulay — who died in a car crash in 2000 — won’t be able to see the poles he envisioned years ago, Prestegard is pleased to honor the organization’s founder with their creation. The more important aspect, Prestegard said, is not the way it honors Macaulay but how it honors the Alaska Natives in the region.
“It sort of represents the two clans and the different houses within the clans,” Prestegard said. “A lot of times, a totem will tell a story or it’s a healing pole for something or a thank-you pole. This is to represent all the different folks in the different houses within the Native community around Southeast.”
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