National Park Service Underrepresented Communities Grant
NN Cannery Project Awarded Second Round of Federal Funding
The new surge of funds will support efforts to put the century-old cannery on the National Register of History Places.
Anchorage, Alaska – January 4, 2018 - The <NN> Cannery History Project, through the State of Alaska’s Office of History and Archeology, will receive federal funding as part of an effort by the National Park Service to shine a spotlight on the contributions of underrepresented communities to our nation’s history. It is one of thirteen projects across the country awarded funding, totaling $500,000.
The NN Cannery History Project will receive $48,600, the second round of funding it has been granted, to compile the archival and primary research needed to place the important Alaskan historical site on the National Register and pilot a Digital Storytelling program. The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.
“Little has been written about Alaska canneries, and only two have been documented for listing in the National Register of Historic Places,” notes Alaska’s State Historian and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Joan Antonson. “The NN Cannery supported thousands of local residents, transient workers, and fishermen over many decades, providing them a unique identity and lifeway. Listing the NN Cannery on the National Register will call attention to these cannery workers and tell the human stories behind the industry.”
The NN Cannery History Project is a collaborative partnership between Tundra Vision, Alaska Association for Historic Preservation, the Alaska State Museum, Trident Seafoods, and local Bristol Bay groups aimed at preserving the important history to more than century of cannery lives. See Stories Consulting will come on to develop a digital storytelling pilot program with
local that will teach local students to craft films based on cannery work and culture in order to
stimulate community participation and pride and to continue the project after the grant is
The <NN> Cannery is situated on the south side of the Naknek River, one of the five major rivers that make up the Bristol Bay salmon fishery, Alaska’s largest and most sustainable commercial fishery. The Indigenous Alaskans who worked at the cannery were descendants of Katmai people and culturally connected to the Brooks River Area's Archeological District and National Historic Landmark at Katmai National Park and Preserve. Despite their vital contribution, Native American and Asian cannery workers are often ignored in the popular narratives of Alaska’s most important salmon fishery.
“Alaskan canneries often succumb to the ravages of weather, arson or neglect,” said Jennifer Pederson Weinberger, Cultural Resources Program Manager at the National Park Service’s Alaska Regional Office. “The cannery at South Nakk represents a rare exception and retains a considerable amount of historical, architectural and cultural significance.”
The grant to the NN Cannery Project is funded through the Historic Preservation Fund using revenue from federal oil leases on the Outer Continental Shelf. The fund provides assistance for a broad range of preservation projects without expending tax dollars. The National Register nomination is expected to be completed in early 2020.
In addition to the NPS Underrepresented Communities Grant, The NN Cannery History Project received a $60,000 matching Creating Humanities Community Grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities in August 2017 that will support the development of an exhibit called “Mug Up” with the Alaska State Museum and was recently placed on the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation’s Top Ten List of Alaska’s Most Endangered Historic Properties. Included with the designation is $2,600 in funding for historic research.