The Alutiiq Museum has recognized Brigid and Harry Dodge as recipients of its Volunteer of the Year award, the museum said in a news release Sunday.
Brigid, a retired teacher, and Harry, a retired biologist, own Kodiak Treks, a wilderness lodge that sits on Aleut Island in Uyak Bay.
The Dodges volunteer and help the museum by monitoring the condition of ancient settlements near their home. Uyak Bay lies far from Kodiak’s modern population center, but it was once densely settled, the news release said. It said the protected, resource-rich waters of the bay provided shelter and food for Alutiiq families. Numerous village sites record their activities.
For seven years, the Dodges have visited a sample of the sites and reported their observations to Alutiiq Museum archaeologist Patrick Saltonstall.
Saltonstall runs the museum’s site stewardship program, an effort that unites museum archaeologists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kodiak landowners, and community volunteers, to complete non-invasive documentation of ancestral Alutiiq sites.
Volunteers record the character of each site, noting erosion, animal damage and human impacts, and then share the information with Saltonstall. Their observations help land managers preserve sites and the history they hold.
In 2014, the Dodges continued to monitor sites near their rural home, but they also helped Saltonstall tour the bay.
With the aid of their skiff, they spent five days ferrying him around Uyak’s shores, volunteering their time to check known sites and look for new deposits. With the Dodge’s patient assistance, Saltonstall was able to visit areas that hadn’t been reviewed by an archaeologist in 30 years and to study about 50 sites.
The Alutiiq Museum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and sharing the cultural traditions of the Alutiiq, an Alaska Native tribal people.
Representatives of Kodiak Alutiiq organizations govern the museum with funding from charitable contributions, memberships, grants, and sales.