SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Cowards of Our Destiny, part two.
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
Yeil Hit
Taan ta Kwaan
Hixson, TN

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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