SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Welcoming Letter to the Tourists
By Carol Christoffe


February 11, 2007
Sunday PM

Well, it is just about time for the tourists to arrive! Here is the viewpoint of one woman of why you should really get to know Ketchikan.

When you come to Ketchikan you are entering another world. I have traveled a great deal and will travel again but this is special. This is a place of hard-working and exceptionally loving people. Contrary to popular belief, we are not getting "rich" off of the tax nor are we "greedy" as some folks think. Most of us are struggling to make a living and our tax dollars go into maintaining and improving expensive docks et.cet. for the tourist trade. Many of the local businesses do not get a lot of that trade, which is a pity, because nicer folks you'd never meet!

In Ketchikan, and Alaska in general, people look after one another and care about each other. There is a strong "pull together" attitude here.

We have thousands of waterfalls, lush, vibrant rainforests that pulsate with life, verdant pools teeming with colorful exotic sea-life.

When you step into the rainforest, it is as if time has stood still, as if you are timewalking into another world, more ancient and primeveal.

We have some exotic and creative people living here with a wonderfull ability to entertain, make music, song,dance, and theater. Our art community both Native and European are gifted and strong. The amazing amount of talent here makes it an undiscovered Art Colony.

When you visit our Island leave your cultural baggage behind. The Native people here are gifted and thier culture is in a process of re-awakening. It is a sophisticated and rich and honorable culture.

The totem poles that dot the landscape are silent books that tell a lot if you take the time to get to really know them. It is a culture to be respected.

Today's generations are seeking to bring back and preserve in a good way the traditions that are thier birthright. This includes thier arts and crafts and customs that a sovereign nation-within- a -nation must have to preserve it's identity. Despite misguided attempts to kill the languages, there is a new interest in preserving the linguistic heritage and learning thier own language in addition to English. All this makes it a very diverse and rich place to live. There is so much to learn here.

I urge you to open your minds and hearts to Ketchikan and it will open its heart to you. I can truly say that since I have lived among the island people, I have been embraced, enchanted and transformed by them.

One of the things that led me here, guided me and that I draw the most strength and inspiration from is FOG WOMAN totem poles, which are everywhere on the island. The Fog Woman story gives hope to all women and is one of the few tributes to women that we see. Essentially her story demonstrates respect for women and that no man, no matter how highly postitioned or god-like (Her husband Raven was a leader and gifted),can abuse women.For if he does, he risks losing Divine favor(loss of life-giving food and abundance). Thus any culture that upholds it's women and shows respect will be blessed. The Fog Woman stories teach respect for women AND RESPECT FOR THE FISH. Essentially you don't get one without the other.

Now in this new era of looking to take care of the earth, women will play a vital role, as well in bringing back worthy and respectfull traditions. For any society to have balance, we must have the leadership of both men and women. As long as Fog Woman still watches over and blesses her children, fish and people,these Island people remain a blessed people. I am sure there is more to be learned in this regard and I admit that I am just a child in this matter. However I am wise enough to see that Fog Woman's children carry something good and powerfull within them.

When I first came here, I heard a local young lady sing, with the voice of an Angel, Christy Miller, (she has since married). She sang a lovely free-form prayer song that said, "Alaska, God smiles upon you!"

And so he does! Come see the good and blessed people of Alaska. They often don't have much, but they are willing to share. They work hard and live off the land. They are trying to balance the need for the jobs and industry, with the need to have drinkable water, and decent food. Come see an island of berries, and fish, and whales, and bears, all of whom have teachings,messages for you if you learn to listen and bless. Take a little time and shop the small places, the less glitzy, and meet us. You're going to love them. I have.

Carol Christoffel
Ketchikan, AK

Received February 10, 2007 - Published February 11, 2006

About: "Resident of Ketchikan, supporter of diversity"



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Ketchikan, Alaska