The Stebbins and St. Michael communities are relocating their reindeer corral following an expired lease.
The first posts went up Thursday on the new site, located around three miles southwest of St. Michael.
Theodore Katcheak is a life-long reindeer herder and one of the owners of the tri-party herd, jointly owned by the Katcheak family, the Stebbins Community Association, and the Native Village of St. Michael.
Discussing the timeline of the project, Katcheak said, “It’s going to take at lease two weeks to get this construction done. It’s mostly volunteers. We’re not getting paid for it. We’re not getting money from anywhere.”
Katcheak said volunteers are rebuilding the corral using salvaged materials from the old site. He said the herd does not turn a profit, so there is no money to hire workers or pay for supplies. Katcheak said he is hoping other building resources like lumber, gas, and transportation will be donated by the two communities.
“So we’re kind of at the mercy of everybody,” Katcheak said. “We just don’t have the resources. We have the animals. But we don’t have any resources.”
The corral is relocating after its previous lease expired on land owned by the Stebbins Native Corporation. The Corporation is using the former site to excavate gravel.
Katcheak said when the corral is finished, herders will begin marking, tagging, and castrating the reindeer.