SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Perpetuate Tribes Not Corporations
By Don Hoff Jr.


April 22, 2007

Dear Editor,

Alaska Natives need to necessitate having traditional tribes rather than Alaska Native Corporations. Corporations rise and fall or move to a foreign country. It is my opinion that if we had functioning traditional tribes in our respective villages during the early days of the Alaska Native Land Claims Act of 1971, we may not be in the position we are in today. Sealaska Corporation is proposing a new enrollment for descendants born after 1971 - I am voting no. If this resolution for new enrollment passes, this will only dilute the future dividends.

jpg Ketchikan ca 1902

What Ketchikan looked like in 1902 era.  Chief Johnson Totem Pole (Kadjuk Hit). 
Text & photo provided by Don Hoff Jr.

Alaska Natives fight for the inherit rights to subsistence, however, why don't we try to learn our native language or fight for our lands that rightfully belong to Alaska Native People? Logic says, "We need to reorganize our traditional tribes". Native Clan leaders need to call their families and tribal members together to function as a tribe. Tongass Tribe or Taan ta Kwaan (Sea Lion People) meet on a regular basis or when an important issue rises in Ketchikan. Tongass Tribe was reorganized around 1986. People talk like we don't exist any more. I believe it is time to change the way people think about Alaska Natives and our issues. The power is within traditional tribes not Native Corporations.

It is my opinion that the Sealaska Corporation Board of Directors has been pleasuring the landless committees of Ketchikan, Tenakee Springs, Petersburg and Wrangell for the last 20 plus years. Sealaska Corporation should be thinking how they can transfer ANCSA lands that is owed by the Federal Government to the landless communities. We do not need Village Corporation status for this to happen. We need land passed to traditional tribes and we can decide our own destiny. If land was passed to traditional tribes, we would have land for future generations of descendants of the tribe.

Instead of having meetings of Clans and Celebrations, we should have a meeting of the Traditional Tribes and have a traditional potlatch. I am not saying we have to give up our jobs, cars, McDonald's or shopping at Wal-Mart. Our Native People adapt to changes. If we had sewing machines back in 1867, we would have used them to make button blankets.

In closing, I am still voting no on new enrollment for Sealaska Corporation. I urge you to organize your tribe in your village - fight for your land that rightfully belongs to you and your tribe - don't let others think for you.

My name is Aan Kadax Tseen, Gaanax adi Clan, Yei l Hit, Taan ta Kwaan.

Gunalcheesh, ho ho

Don Hoff Jr.
Hixson, TN

Received April 22, 2007 - Published April 22, 2007

About: Past City Council-City of Ketchikan; Past Board of Director of K.P.U. ; Past O.S.H.A. Reviewboard member-State of Alaska; Past I.R.A. Councilman-Ketchikan Indian Corp.; Tongass Tribe member



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Ketchikan, Alaska