SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Sealaska Land Bill
By Chasina Worman


April 14, 2010

As an Alaskan resident and commercial fisherman, I am writing to voice my opposition to the Sealaska Bill (S.881) . This legislation will be detrimental to Southeast Alaska. Sealaska has selected prime parcels, that are currently public lands, that they would like. Some names around Ketchikan that my family and I frequent and enjoy are: Dog bay, Naha, Clover Creek, Shrimp Bay, Burns Narrow, Bostwick, Gravel Point (Duke Isand), Chasina Pt., just to name a few. Plus an additional 46 acres in Misty Fjords. This land will become private and will be owned by a native corporation. This legislation gives land that the public uses and enjoys to a timber centric corporation.

The bill selects lands that are used and enjoyed by local residents for their ecological, subsistence and recreational values outside of the original ANSCA selection box. Right now this land maybe enjoyed by everyone. By giving this land to a private company you are excluding the rights of all who visit and use this land. Sealaska has chosen sites with roads built and maintained by our tax dollars, that are outside of the ANCSA settlement act. ANCSA allows Sealaska to select from boundaries of land that are around traditional native villages. I do not agree with the reasoning that these lands are not reasonable. Sealaska has chosen the cream of the crop in their land selection. Is this bill about fulfilling ANSCA or making Sealaska incredibly wealthy? Once this land is given away it will be gone for all.

I am also concerned about the sacred sites in Misty Fjords. This land is currently protected. Once this land is given way, what is to protect it from becoming tribal lands, or sold? I urge those considering this bill to consider what is best for all and not just the few. Giving this land to a for-profit corporation will cause a rift in Southeast Alaska, setting neighbors against each other. You are not giving the land to the native people, it is being given to a business. The shareholders in Sealaska have little say in what the corporation decides. This bill is not restoring anyone heritage. Please do not make this mistake, it will impact the fishing, subsistence, and environment of our great state and ruin many lives. The north end of Prince of Wales will become a waist land.

I urge you to kill this bill, it is an injustice to all Alaska residents and visitors. Please vote no.

Thank you,

Chasina Worman
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Alaskan Fisherman, Ketchikan, Alaska Resident"

Received April 11, 2010 - Published April 14, 2010



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