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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

To the Citizens of Ketchikan

By Trixie Bennet, Norman Skan, Chas Edwardson, Judy Leask Guthrie, Gloria Burns, Gianna Willard Flanery, Marcie Haynes, Lloyd Ruaro (KIC Tribal Council)


February 10, 2022
Thursday PM

To the Citizens of Ketchikan, 

The Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Council is disgusted by incidents that happened during a Kayhi versus Metlakatla boys' basketball game. These racist actions by the Ketchikan pep club were hurtful and divisive by nature. The themed attire was disrespectful to our sisters and brothers and our neighbors in Metlakatla. 

We have all witnessed the racially charged incidents all across the country and are witnessing it in our community. It is imperative that all of our children feel safe in our school district and that we celebrate all cultures and differences. To insure this does not happen again, we look forward to an apology, the results of the investigation, solutions, and a plan of action. 

Ketchikan's history of racism has produced Alaska Native civil rights leaders such as Nettie Jones and Elizabeth Peratrovich, two of our state's most effective advocates for desegregation, anti-discrimination legislation and civil rights. Nettie's daughter Irene attended Ketchikan's Main Street School and Elizabeth Peratrovich was a Kayhi graduate. 

We must increase sensitivity and understanding between races and groups of people. As the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District continues to look into the situation, Ketchikan Indian Community stands ready to contribute in any way we can to help the community heal. Cultural education and understanding are key to that healing. We want our local educators and administrators to participate in cultural educational opportunities. One such opportunity later this month is Sealaska's virtual "Our Cultural Landscape: Culturally Responsive Education Conference", designed to help educators build their cultural foundation. 

Ketchikan has a long-standing issue with cultural racism and together we can heal. No group is free from racism, but together we can fight to hold up our systems of equality we have put in place. Together, in unity, we will be a stronger community. 

Haw'aa, Gunalcheesh, 'Doyackshin 

Trixie Bennet, President
Norman Skan, Vice President
Chas Edwardson, Treasurer
Judy Leask Guthrie, Secretary
Gloria Burns,
Gianna Willard Flanery,
Marcie Haynes,
Lloyd Ruaro
Ketchikan, Alaska


About: Members of the Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Council.


Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Received February 10, 2022 - Published February 10, 2022


Ketchikan’s school district is investigating allegations of racism at a basketball game against Alaska’s only Native reservation - By ERIC STONE, KRBD.ORG - February 08, 2022

Students speak out about allegations of racism at Ketchikan-Metlakatla basketball game - By ERIC STONE, KRBD.ORG - February 10, 2022

CAIR Condemns Racist Attire Targeting Alaska Native Team at H.S. Basketball Game 
CAIR.COM (Council on American–Islamic Relations) - February 10, 2022


Ketchikan Schools Partially Desegregated in 1929;Local Native family went to court for right of daughter to attend Main School By DAVE KIFFER
SitNews - February 06, 2014

Alaska Celebrates Civil Rights Pioneer; Peratrovich's Efforts Pre-Dated Martin Luther King By DAVE KIFFER
SitNews - February 18, 2008

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