A centuries-old Haida canoe has been discovered near the Prince of Wales Island village of Kasaan, Sealaska Corp. announced Tuesday. Work on the nearly 34-foot vessel may have stopped around the same time that Columbus sailed from Spain.
A surveyor with Sealaska's subsidiary, the Sealaska Timber Corporation, spotted the canoe under a heavy layer of moss while working on forested land owned by the Alaska Native regional corporation last winter.
"(Engineers and field personnel) are instructed to immediately secure the area" when they recognize potential historical objects, Sealaska Executive Vice President Rick Harris said in a written statement. "(To) stop any activities that may negatively affect the cultural resource, and contact Sealaska Heritage Institute, which oversees these matters." Steps were quickly taken to protect the area until a full investigation could take place.
Following the spring snowmelt, Sealaska leaders and tribal members from Kasaan visited the site. Daniel Monteith, an anthropology professor at the University of Alaska Southeast helped with the inspection.
Of particular importance was the fact that the work on the canoe appeared to have been done with pre-contact hand tools.
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