The Juneau Empire reports that on June 21, construction work on the Gastineau Community School in Douglas stopped abruptly when workers unearthed a grave with its headstone intact. Construction crews were digging footings for a concrete stairway when they came across the grave. “We had not at all expected to find anything there,” Rorie Watt, director of the Juneau Engineering Department, told the Juneau Empire.
The grave belongs to Sam Goldstein, a Chilkat man from Klukwan who died in 1927, Watt said. The grave was missing when old burial sites were relocated in the 1960s.
Watt told the Juneau Empire that city workers researched the case and realized it was a man of Native origin. They contacted Sealaska Heritage Institute to conduct a brief ceremony with Sealaska Institute members and people from Goldstein's region.
Construction on the inside of the school continues, and Watt believes that the possibility of finding another grave is remote. Still, “when we go back to work, basically what the direction is, is ‘dig slowly’ and with someone else watching,” she told the Juneau Empire.
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