Cowards of Our Destiny, part
By Don Hoff Jr.
January 06, 2009
The State of Alaska and the federal government like to blame
the subsistence users for the exploitation and near extinction
of our herring fisheries. Meanwhile, they allow the commercial
fishing industry to over-harvest our fish. Picking seaweed is
unlawful anywhere in Alaska except a few places in Southeast.
How absurd is that?
Herring row fisheries are all but gone in the Ketchikan area,
and don't blame the subsistence users. Blame it on bad management
of all our natural resources by the State of Alaska and Federal
Government; these people have regulated to near extinction our
halibut, abalone, king crab, sea urchins, herring and sea cumbers,
and have allowed the Ooligan runs to disappear in the Unuk River.
We, as Alaskan Native People, have to take part of the blame
for allowing the Caucasians to take from us in the first place.
Let's face the facts, the Native leadership we have today is
doing nothing. We have become cowards of our own destiny. We
have our own I.R.A. Council governments, Alaska Native Brotherhood
and Sisterhood Camps and Tlingit and Haida Central Councils -
but what are they doing? Our leadership is doing nothing to protect
our inherent right to subsist off the land and sea. Why? Is the
Assimilation of Alaskan Natives almost complete? Have we forgotten
who we are? Have we forgotten who really owns the land? Are we
Tlingits cowards? The Caucasians will leave Alaska only when
all our natural resources are gone. Do we as Alaskan Natives
have to stand by and do nothing? No, let's fight for what really
belongs to us. Racism and Discrimination towards Alaskan Natives
is alive and well. Caucasian people don t care about us. They
are greedy people and don't like to share.
For inspiration; let's look at Metlakatla, Alaska. They control
their own destiny. They have their own fisheries, and have told
the State of Alaska and Federal Government what they are going
to do and have done it. What is the lesson? We, as real owners
of Alaska, have to be aggressive to get what belongs to us, and
take control of our natural resources. We will pick seaweed in
April. We will dig up clams for fundraisers. We will shoot a
seal and a deer for a Potlatch. Have our Native Leadership forgotten
we have four villages in Southeast with no Land Claim Settlement
in Ketchikan, Petersburg, Wrangell and Tenakee Springs?
It is time to fight for what is ours. Remember, it is the Caucasian
people that are raping you of all our natural resources and killing
our tribes in the process. Just like taking the herring from
the King Salmon. It is our food, and we as Native People are
part of the food chain. What is the difference? Learn your language,
history get your tribe moving and start pushing your local Native
Leaders forward and support them to get what rightfully belongs
to our Tribes.
This is my own opinion.
Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.
Gaanax adi Clan
Taan ta Kwaan
About: "Past Vice Mayor/City
Councilman - City of Ketchikan,. Board of Directors, K.P.U.,
O.S.H.A. Review Board Chairman/boardmember., I.R.A. Councilman,
Ketchikan Indian Community,. Indigenous to all of Ketchikan area,
Taan Ta Kwaan (Sealion People)."
Received December 28, 2008
- Published January 06, 2009
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