For decades, totems have stood as a sentry at the Permanent Corporation in Juneau. No more. The totems are moving from downtown to the Goldbelt Inc. headquarters near the Juneau International Airport.
Tlingit artists Ray Peck and Jim Marks carved the totems for Goldbelt, an Alaska Native corporation, which built and sold the building near the Douglas Bridge to the Alaska Permanent Fund in 1998; the totems stayed with the building as it became the headquarters for the Permanent Fund. But the sales contract was clear — Goldbelt could buy the art in the building back for $1.
The building, built in 1991 and then known as Goldbelt Place, is now the Michael J. Burns building, named for a former CEO of the fund, who died in 2015 after leading the fund for over a decade. It is situated at 801 W. 10th Street.
In 2021, Goldbelt President and CEO McHugh Pierre bought the art from APFC, with plans to raise the totem poles, called “Legions and Beliefs,” “Creation of Killer Whale,” and “Strongman,” at Goldbelt’s headquarters, now at 3025 Clinton Drive, Juneau.
Goldbelt will erect them as part of the corporation’s 50th anniversary celebration on Jan. 4, 2024.
“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 Permanent Fund CEO Deven Mitchell.