The members of an Alaska Native village celebrated the return of 143-acres of land Sunday.
It’s land the Eklutna Dena’ina people have lived on for more than a thousand years, and now it will be preserved for future generations.
“A lot of emotion, joy, obviously, pride in the leadership of Wells Fargo, and now, being at the powwow, it’s turning into celebrating,” said Eklutna Inc CEO Curtis J. McQueen.
The bank owned the land for 90 years.
It has historic Native home sites and resources sacred to the Eklutna village.
“Having that property for as long as we have, and realizing the cultural significance to them it’s really a win-win for us to partner and make this contribution to the tribe,” said Wells Fargo regional president Joe Everheart.
Everheart says he knows what he wants the tribe to do with the land.
“What I hope happens is nothing. I hope it stays the way it is for generations to come to experience and really understand what that culture means, not only to Alaska but to the Dena’ina people,” said Everheart.
Tribal leaders say that’s exactly what they’re planning.
As Anchorage and the Mat-Su grow, the land around Eklutna will stay wild.
“Imagine what this place will be like 50, 100 years from now but at least this specific area will be in it’s pristine state,” said McQueen.
With the Wells Fargo donation, the tribe now owns around 200 acres of land with historic value.