KCAW: Sitka Tribe expands operation at new tannery building

"The Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s tannery is up and running in its own building, at the far end of Halibut Point Road. And now that the business has bought a new home, tribal officials are hoping for its long-term success.

The Sitka Tribal Tannery isn’t new. It began in 2004. But this year, it bought its own building in the 4600 block of Halibut Point Road. And with the help of grants from the federal government, some new equipment is on the way.

Officials with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, which runs the tannery, say they hope this is the beginning of a long life for the operation.

James Young is hoping for the same thing. He’s been working at the tannery for a little more than a year. He’s standing next to an enormous vat of liquid and fur.

“What I have in here two black bears and a brown bear and this is in a pickle," he says, reaching in and grabbing the brown bear. He slings it up onto a table, spreads it out, and then moves it over to a device called a round knife. He says he spends about four hours a day at this machine, shaving the leather part of the hide down to a uniform thickness."

Get the Story:
Tannery means business, culture for Sitka Tribe (KCAW 9/6)

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