30-Foot Totem Poles Return to Goldbelt

In News by Juliette Alldredge

The 30-foot-tall totem pole outside the Michael J. Burns building came down today, following the two indoor poles that were already removed. Tlingit artists Ray Peck and Jim Marks carved the Legends and Beliefs, Creation of Killer Whale and Strongman totems, in addition to the fifteen bronze sculptures affixed to the outside of the building.

“We’re honored to have been the caretakers of the totem poles for the last several decades. It is bittersweet to watch the totems leave our care, but at the same time see the positive impact of their return to Goldbelt,” said APFC CEO Deven Mitchell.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) purchased the building in 1998, then named “Goldbelt Place,” from Goldbelt Incorporated, the Alaska Native Corporation for the Juneau area. In the contract, Goldbelt retained the rights to buy back the art for $1.00/piece. In 2021, Goldbelt President & CEO McHugh Pierre bought back the art from APFC. As a part of Goldbelt’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration, Goldbelt plans to raise the poles at Goldbelt Headquarters.

Pierre remarked, “Goldbelt is thankful for the care and stewardship shown by the APFC to keep these artifacts in top condition. We value our partnership with APFC, and we are proud it calls Juneau home. We look forward to many more years of partnership and collaboration with the APFC. Goldbelt hopes to see its leaders at Goldbelt’s 50th Anniversary celebration on January 4, 2024.”