Juneau, Alaska (KINY) The City and Borough of Juneau and the Douglas Indian Association are constructing a Native Burial Ground Monument at Sayéik Gastineau Community School.
CBJ is looking for an artist to design and produce a fire dish, which is just one component of the monument. The deadline to submit for this Call for Artists is 2 p.m. on Nov. 16.
When the elementary school was being renovated in 2012, five graves were unearthed, which was evidence that the school, constructed in 1958, was built upon a known Native burial ground. The traumatizing event impacted the entire community, Native and non-Native alike. The Douglas Indian Association and CBJ, with the guidance of DIA Elders, are working together to create the monument. The hope is that it will help the community find forgiveness, restore peace, and heal grief and loss.
The monument will have several components. Outside the school’s front entrance, bronze panels will be embedded in an arc into the existing concrete plaza and engraved with a Tlingit quote and its English translation. A stone path will be laid from the plaza to the sidewalk. The path will also lead to a granite boulder, located in the center of an existing grove of trees. The boulder will have a cast bronze plaque and a bronze fire dish on top. The fire dish is a reference to the Tlingit Fire Dish, a key element of Tlingit tradition’s comforting of the departed. The area between the sidewalk and the grove of trees will be lined with several barrier stones. The Native Burial Ground Monument is scheduled for completion this spring.
A three-member Art Selection Panel will choose one artist to design and produce the fire dish. For more information go to