SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Sealaska Land Bills
By Roger DiPaolo


March 31, 2010

Sealaska refers to the bills HR2099 and SB881 as "Haa Aaní Bill". Since "Haa Aaní" means "Our Land", one could easily assume that the Sealaska is saying in effect that the specific Tongass National Forest lands on North POW and Kosciusko Islands that they want to privately own somehow belongs to them. This is not at all true, completely false in all respects. The disputed lands are part of the Tongass National Forest that belongs equally to ALL Americans, not just to Alaskan Natives.

For Sealaska to say that the disputed lands are "Our Lands" smacks of racism. It implies that non-Native Alaskans have no rights to the disputed lands. In the way it presents its arguments Sealaska is painting this issue as Native vs. Non-Native - which is an extremely dangerous thing to do as it promotes division between Natives and Non-Natives. In 21st Century America we should be opposed to anything that creates racial divisions, not encouraging them.

I have also read many internet postings from the "pro-bills" side that basically claim that all of Southeast Alaska historically belongs to Natives (and by association, Sealaska Corp) and the implication being that Non-Natives don't belong in Southeast Alaska - so good riddance to the people of Edna Bay, Port Protection, and Point Baker. Following Sealaska's logic one can make the argument that the entire United States are Native lands and by historical right should be returned to Native Americans. This ignores all of the work our Great Nation has done since the 1960s to erase racial boundaries and is tantamount to extreme hate and racism. I would like to see Sealaska condemn such divisive word and actions - and as long as they don't do so I continue to hold them accountable for the dangerous division occurring in Southeast over this issue.

Roger DiPaolo
Edna Bay, AK

About: "I am a sofware engineer who resides in Edna Bay, Alaska"

Received March 31, 2009 - Published March 31, 2010


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