SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Tongass Tribe Land - Ketchikan
By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.


July 06, 2010
Tuesday PM

We are the lineal descendants of the Taan ta Kwaan means Sealion People or known as Tongass Tribe (hereinafter the "Tongass Tribe" or "Tribe"), a traditional and historical Alaskan Native Tribe in Ketchikan indisputably recognized by all Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes in Southeast Alaska.

Ketchikan is the aboriginal territory of the Gaanax adi Clan that is Tongass Tribe. We still claim all the low tide lands starting from Tatsuda s to the Tunnel. Tongass Tribe also owned unoccupied village sites on Tongass Island, Long Island, Klawock,Village Island, Cat Island, Duke Island, Annette Island, Cape Chacon, Pennock Island, Gravina Island, Prince of Wales Island, and Kasaan.

At no time has Congress ever acted to extinguish any aboriginal title of the Tongass Tribe since the United States assumed sovereignty over Alaska. At no time has the Tongass Tribe voluntarily ceded, relinquished, given up, conveyed or abandoned its title to any of its lands and sea. This also goes for the State of Alaska, City of Ketchikan and Borough, Ketchikan I.R.A. Council and Sealaska Corporation. Tongass Tribe is not a disbanded Tribe, some have claimed. If you folks have not noticed, we are still here.

Gaanax adi Clan the oldest Clan in the Tlingit Nation. I am from the Raven House and Drift to Shore House was on Village Island. Raven House was on Tongass Island. Follow your Mother's Clan. You can honor your Dad's Clan. Regardless, if your Tsimshian or Haida or white blood.

Tongass Tribe claims two origins; our people come down the Nass River and Unukriver over 10,000 years ago. Remember we didn't have borders back then. We have Tongass Tribe members today on the Nass River and Port Harding, BC (I pretty sure). This came from your Aunty Emma Williams and Uncle Frank and Ester Shea.

The question is why give up Millions of acres of Ancestral lands that we still own...and give it up for a mere 23,040 acres of Federal lands for Village Corporation status in Ketchikan and if Sealaska Corp allows us to have one? One big reason why Ketchikan is trying to allow non tribal members uses our History to get Land Claims in Ketchikan. That's fine but only if Tongass Tribe Members Only! There are some Tongass Tribe members in Ketchikan that want allow non-tribal members in Ketchikan to our Land Claims. I say, No! No, no. 80% to 90% of Tongass Tribe lives outside Ketchikan. You can't exclude Tongass Tribe members that live outside Ketchikan from a vote or say. It s neither Tlingit way nor Protocol.

Remember, K.I.C., Sealaska Corp, A.N.B. or A.N.S. don't represent the Gaanax adi Clan or Tongass Tribe. They are not Tribes as they think they are, this organization can assist you but they don't ever speak for us, ever.

Fight for your Lands and Fight for your Subsistence Rights, without one of these components a Tribe dies...

Ketchikan is not Haida land nor is it Tsimshian land; you people have your own ancestral tribal lands in other Southeast villages. Ketchikan is Gaanax adi Land, Tongass Tribe Land. Any Land Claims for Ketchikan should receive in the future has to go to the rightful owners, the Gaanax adi Clan and Tongass Tribe, its our aboriginal and Inherit Right, its our History and Culture that was taken from the Tongass Tribe.

Some will say, we been here in Ketchikan for a 100 years! Tongass Tribe was and has been in Ketchikan and surrounding lands for 10,000 years, it's a big difference. What should happen is all the Village Corporations in Southeast Alaska should open their enrollment for their tribal members and there won't be any Urban Indians or Shareholders-at-large.

I would hate to give up millions of acres of all our Rights to Ancestral Lands for a mere 23,040 acres from the Federal Government. If the Tribe wants to go in that direction, it should be Tongass Tribe Village Corporation only. This is my Gaanax adi Elder opinion.

Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.
Gaanax adi Clan
Drifted to Shore House/Raven House
Taan ta Kwaan
Hixson, TN

About: Past; Ketchikan City Council/Vice-Mayor
Board of Director-K.P.U.
O.S.H.A. Reviewboard member/Chairman
I.R.A. Counci-K.I.C.
Tongass Tribe member-Gaanax adi Elder-incorporator.

Received July 03, 2010 - Published July 06, 2010



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