5/25/15 - Village of Tyonek celebrates Nature Conservancy's gift of ancestral homelands
By Independent journalist Mark Trahant, and Lori Townsend, APRN
Tribal members from the Native village of Tyonek recently celebrated a donation of land that once was home to their ancestors. The 160-acre parcel was donated to the people of Tyonek by the Nature Conservancy. The land has former home and food storage sites dating back at least 900 years. Independent journalist Mark Trahant was invited to the potlatch held in Tyonek, which is located on the western shore of Cook Inlet. He talked with Lori Townsend, of the Alaska Public Radio Network, saying the community appreciated have the land returned to their care by the Nature Conservancy.
During the five-minute interview, Trahant says the land may become the first in Alaska transferred into trust, or protected status, once litigation over regulations ends.
"This land return was done in such a positive way, that it shows the good that can come out of returning to a Native community," said Trahant. "It doesn't have to be divisive. It doesn't have to be a contentious issue. It can be about the future, and it can inspire people. I know I came back awfully inspired by it."