The Alutiiq Museum is fortunate to have a community of people that contribute much time and labor to our efforts. Volunteers set up for events, clean facilities, identify historic photographs, wash stone tools, and work with archaeologists. To show our gratitude, we recognize one outstanding contribution with our annual Volunteer of the Year award. For 2014, we’ve picked Brigid and Harry Dodge.
Brigid, a retired teacher, and Harry, a retired biologist, own Kodiak Treks. This wilderness lodge sits on Aleut Island, in Uyak Bay. Here, the Dodges volunteer from afar, helping 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 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 these sites and reported their observations to Alutiiq Museum archaeologist Patrick Saltonstall. Saltonstall runs our Site Stewardship program, an effort that unites museum archaeologists, the US 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 thirty years and to study about fifty sites. We thank them most sincerely.