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Tlingit-Haida tout success stories

Tlingit Haida plans for a Cultural Immersion Park

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Emily Edenshaw, Business & Economic Development Director for the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska spoke on social enterprises: Impacts beyond economic development at the weekly Greater Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

She was joined by Talia Eames, Reentry & Recovery Manager.

They spoke on the reentry transitional housing project, the business and economic department, and how you can support social enterprises.
They recently received a permit from the CBJ to operate the transitional center at the current Harbor Inn on the downtown waterfront.  Reentry refers to the transition of the formerly incarcerated from prison back into the community.

Those re-entering are often called returning citizens. 

Programs supporting returning citizens are a benefit to the community, Eames said.

“95 percent of people who are incarcerated will be released,” she added.

Without stable support and housing, it is difficult for people to succeed after release from prison.

The Harbor Inn can handle 16 males in eight dorm style units.  They will also have a dedicated casework and resident manager onsite.  They will be building another Sacred Grounds Café on the grounds.  It will be a walk-up café to provide services to the nearby park and help raise funds for the program. To be eligible the applicants must provide an essay, interview and recommendations.  All residents will be on electronic monitoring.  Sex offenders will not be eligible.

Residents commit to a minimum stay of six months.  The maximum stay is two years.  The overall recidivism rate in the state is high, 62 percent, according to the Alaska Criminal Justice Commission report in 2018.  

Cultural programming is important because is restorative, and balance healing to one self and the community.  People being released from Southeast Alaska from nearby smaller villages must remain in Juneau to meet probation and parole requirements.  
'Cultural connectedness' is a factor to prevent recidivism.  A University of Montana study found that cultural participation was associated with a 36% decrease in repeat crimes.

Residents will provide community services like cleanups of the Mayor Bill Overstreet Park and the Juneau Seawalk.   This will save the CBJ some money.  

The program will provide housing, job training and employment for those released from prison.  It copies a program in San Francisco called the Delancey Street Foundation Model.

The employment will help the client pay back legal fees, pay restitution and child support while also benefiting the economy.

Edenshaw focused her remarks on the business and societal impacts Tlingit & Haida has had on Juneau.

Edenshaw said healthy tribes mean healthy communities.

They have nearly 30 employees and operate social enterprises like the cultural immersion park, Sacred Grounds, Smokehouse Catering, Sacred Shine auto detailing, Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, courier service and daycare.

They also want to emphasize cultural tourism.  “There is an unmet need.  The cultural immersion park was a catalyst for discussion."

The tribe said the park will help support commerce and workforce development, create 200 jobs, our local economy and create opportunity.
The park will include a traditional long house, carving shed, restaurant, gift shop and a cultural exhibit.

They are also actively fundraising for the project.  They want to open in 2021.  They will also hold traditional canoe rides.

Sacred Grounds employs over 15 people at five different locations.   They also made a profit in the second year of operation.

In other news;
Rep. Andy Storey said the Senate and the House would like to hold another special session in Juneau and not another location.
Both chambers finished the first special session this morning.  A special session will be held in Wasilla.

The Chamber of Commerce 5th annual golf tournament at the Mendenhall Golf Course on July 27th.


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