KODIAK — The Native Village of Afognak may not have a village, but it does have a home.
On Friday afternoon, the Native Village of Afognak organization held an open house at its new headquarters, a former law office at 323 Carolyn Street in Kodiak.
“We’re proud of our new building and want to share it with the public,” said tribal administrator Melissa Borton.
The village of Afognak was destroyed in the 1964 earthquake, and its residents dispersed to Port Lions, Kodiak or the Lower 48, but it survives today as one of 10 federally recognized tribes in the Kodiak archipelago, Borton said.
The tribal offices moved into the Carolyn Street location in June, but the organization has only recently settled to the point where it felt comfortable allowing the public to tour the building, Borton said.
The building is still being rented from the Old Harbor Native Corporation, but Borton said Afognak intends to purchase the building as soon as a grant comes through from the federal government. That will happen “probably in January,” Borton said.
While the tribal organization is best known for the annual Dig Afognak series of summer camps, the new building will allow the organization to expand its operations. Borton said tribal staffers have begun pursuing National Historic Site status for the site of the old village and are continuing their work to preserve the Alutiiq language in conjunction with the Alutiiq Museum and the Native Village of Port Lions organization.
The building also will allow Afognak space to host workshops throughout the winter and house an expanded library, which will store hundreds of volumes related to the tribe’s history and the history of Alaska Natives and American Indians.
“It’s a resource library, and the public is welcome,” Borton said. “We want people to know it’s a public library.”
The library will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, the same hours as the tribal offices.
“We’re looking forward to opening up,” she said.
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