SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Tongass Tribe Land -101
By Don Hoff Jr.


August 14, 2009

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 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, 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.

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! It s a lame argument. Tongass Tribe was 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 nor Shareholders-at-large.

Personally, 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 opinion, part one.

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

About: " Past: Vice Mayor/City Councilman - City of Ketchikan
K.P.U. Boardmember - City of Ketchikan
O.S.H.A. Reviewboard Chairman/member - State of Alaska
I.R.A Council - Ketchikan Indian Corporation
Tongass Tribal Elder - Gaanax adi Clan Warrior."

Received August 12, 2009 - Published August 14, 2009


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Ketchikan, Alaska