Hōkūleʻa arrives at last Alaska stop: Hydaburg
After four days in Metlakatla, the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Hōkūleʻa canoe and crew departed for Hydaburg, Alaska where they arrived on the evening of July 7.
After warm temperatures in Metlakatla, the weather got chilly during their 90-mile, 10-hour sail to Hydaburg, that included traveling alongside a pod of humpback whales.
Joining the journey on Hōkūleʻa were three special guests: Tsimshian artist Kandi McGilton (Mangyepsa Gyipaayg) who taught the crew how to weave cedar bark; Davie Boxley (Gyibaawm Laxha), a Tsimshian carver from Metlakatla; and their guide through these waters, Hydaburg Mayor Tony Christianson (Saanhl_K_ingwaas) who got off just before docking in Hydaburg and led the arrival ceremony in full regalia. Every time a sockeye salmon jumped out of the water he couldnʻt contain his excitement and began to sing at it.
Mayor Christianson is also in charge of the federal fish and wildlife management for subsistence uses and is the Natural Resource Director for the Hydaburg Cooperative Association. After the Hydaburg arrival ceremony, the crew traveled to Klawock where they received a warm Tlingit welcome at the community center.
The following day on Saturday, the crew traveled to the organized village of Kasaan, the
northernmost village of the Haida people, and were hosted by tribal president Mike Jones. After a multi-year effort, Kasaan recently won return of its original totem, with the help of Sealaska. The crew felt honored to have been in its presence and that of internationally acclaimed totem carver Reg Davidson.
Jones then took the crew on a forest hike through the Kasaan Totem Historic district to the Chief Son-I-Hat Whale House or Naay I’waans. It is the only traditional Haida longhouse standing in the US. In this longhouse both the crew and the Haida community sang traditional songs and Jones shared stories of the totems and Chief Son-I-Hat. Then they visited the museum and carving center of Bonnie and Stormy Hamar, who demonstrated dugout canoe carving and whose son Eric (Nang K’adangáas) taught the crew how he uses an adze to create totems.
Weather permitting, Hōkūleʻa is scheduled to depart Hydaburg on July 11 and will leave the state of Alaska for British Columbia where stops tentatively include Old Massett, Prince Rupert, Hartley Bay, Bella Bella and Port Hardy.