By Alena Naiden
Anchorage Daily News 

Healing totem pole pays respect to Natives from boarding school era


November 1, 2023

Bill Roth / Anchorage Daily News

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, center, participated in the blessing of the Boarding School Healing Totem Pole at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage on Oct. 22.

The smell of cedar and the sounds of singing filled the garden behind the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage during the raising of a totem pole that symbolizes healing from the boarding school era decades ago.

More than 600 people gathered on Oct. 22 for the ceremony, raising Alaska's first totem pole dedicated to Alaska Natives who attended boarding schools operated by the federal government or religious orders, as well as their descendants and those who died during their time there.

"The idea behind it was to pay homage and respect to the generation that endured the boarding schoo...

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