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Unearthed grave in Juneau misidentified; discovery raises new questions

Laurel Andrews

On June 21, a grave unearthed at the Gastineau Community School in Juneau was identified as belonging to Sam Goldstein, a Chilkat man who died in 1927. Now the Douglas Indian Association has announced that the remains were actually from a woman aged 20 to 25, the Juneau Empire reports.

The Douglas Indian Association consulted an archaeologist to determine whether the remains matched up with the headstone found during the digging. Douglas Indian Association’s Cadiente Laiti told the Juneau Empire on Friday it was “probably impossible to determine" the identity of the remains. A fire destroyed most of Douglas’ records in 1937.

Rosita Worl, president of Sealaska Heritage Institute, told the Juneau Empire, “Now we wonder, where is Mr. Goldstein? Because the headstone was discovered with his name and from that, you know, we were able to find out who he was and where he was from.” 

Digging on the site stopped earlier this month, when several ‘anomalies’ were found. Although it’s unclear what the anomalies are – they could be anything from burial artifacts to construction debris – Worl told the Juneau Empire that she had seen the construction area and “ believes it to be a burial site.

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