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Qawalangin Tribe Moves Into New Office In The Unalaska Valley

Laura Kraegel/KUCB

After spending years on Standard Oil Hill, the Qawalangin Tribe has leased a new home in the valley.

The tribe moved into the former Unalaska Building Supply this spring. KUCB's Laura Kraegel stopped by for a tour.

"On the east side, outside of the building, you'll see the big sign that says 'Recycle Center,'" says Shayla Shaishnikoff of the tribe's environmental department.

Shaishnikoff is pointing out the new 24-hour drop-off for its recycling program.

"Two blue bins. One is for aluminum cans, and one is for the plastic bottles," she says. "You can come and just dump them right in there, and we'll take it from there."

Shaishnikoff says the tribe's new location has given them more room for the program, which ships No. 1 plastic bottles and aluminum cans off-island to be recycled.

It's also provided more indoor space for other initiatives, like preparing for the annual Camp Qungaayux.

"Here's all our stuff," says Shaishnikoff, heading into the building's big warehouse. "We've got totes. A lot of this is for Camp Q."

This summer, the kids' culture camp will run from July 28 to Aug. 2, with the community potluck set for Aug. 3.

In the warehouse, there's already a stack of wood for the camp's fires, while a nearby skiff is ready to help with the seal hunt and salmon fishing.

"We've got about 50 kids registered," says Shaishnikoff. "The sooner people want to come and get their kids signed up, the better."

Families can register at the new office, where tribal members are also being asked to stop by and make sure their contact information is up-to-date.

"We have our administrative office here now," says Environmental Manager Chris Price. "So if anyone has any questions for the tribe — 1253 E. Broadway. The old Unalaska Building Supply office. That's our address, so you can come on by."

The office will also host meetings of the Tribal Council and provide space for artwork and other cultural materials.

It's already housing a traditional-style Unangan kayak built during last summer's Camp Q, along with a display case filled with weavings, bentwood hats, and eagle feathers. 

Price says Unalaskans will have an opportunity to see the whole setup soon.

"We'll be having an open house later in the summer, maybe right before Camp Qungaayux," he says. "We really want to welcome people to come down and visit us."

The tribe's new office hosts all of its employees and summer interns. It's open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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