SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Open letter to all candidates local, regional, and statewide
By Carrie L. James


September 19, 2006

As the election starts to heat up, I wonder if many of the candidates are even aware of the Native Corporation Klukwan, Inc.'s plan to spray pesticides on Long Island, near Ketchikan.

This is a clear case where our elected officials need to step in.

People are worried, but the Department of Environmental Conservation has ignored them.

DEC doesn't know what the effect of the chemicals are when they're all mixed together will be on people, wildlife, or fish. Shouldn't they be able to answer those questions before giving Klukwan, Inc. a permit to spray? Should they even grant permits in places where people get their food?

People who use the area for fishing, hunting, gathering medicanal plants, berries and other foods wonder how safe spraying those chemicals is for the people who eat foods from that area.

Long Island is a meat locker for some of our people. I grew up in a fishing family; we all were seiners and gilnetters; I remember my uncles and relatives hunted on Long Island. My mother's people are from How'kaan located by Hydaburg. Spraying would show a great disrespect and disgrace to the people of Hydaburg, and to the historical sacred gravesites still located in How'kaan.

Over 99% of the public comments DEC received opposed aerial spraying on Long Island, from tribal organizations to nurses to commercial fishing groups.

The Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp and Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska both passed resolutions against spraying. Six Tribal Councils including Ketchikan Indian Community passed resolutions against spraying. Four Tribal Councils and the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council wrote letters to DEC opposing spraying.

DEC still insists on granting the permit without answering all the safety questions people have. This land isn't just a Southeast issue, a bad idea like this could happen anywhere in Alaska. IT'S TIME FOR OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO STAND UP FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ELECT THEM AND TELL THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION (DEC) AERIAL SPRAYING PESTICIDES DOESN'T FLY.

Native Communities in Southeast Alaska already suffer the effects of a cocktail of chemicals (hand spraying). Adding to this volatile mix just doesn't make sense.

I would also like to see how State Representative Bill Thomas (former chair of Klukwan, Inc.) and Aaron Isaacs (Klawock resident on Prince of Wales Island) stand on this issue. I have already got Bill Thomas of Haines position on this when I attended his open house in Juneau last April. I would like to know if his position has changed since this is now an election year as I know it will make a final determination on who I as well as other concerned voters will vote for.

I look forward to see what the candidates platforms are, what or whom will they stand up for; are they here to serve the people or themselves?

I always welcome all feedback and my e-mail is included.

I am not afraid to be vocal, and I am not afraid of constructive critism. I feel compelled to voice my concerns as a Subsistence Committee member for Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp, as a born and raised Alaskan Native from Southeast Alaska.

Carrie L. James
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: "Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand 2nd Vice President - Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp #14 (Ktn) President - Advocate for subsistence rights - Born and raised in Alaska - near Hydaburg - Southeast Conservation Council (SEACC) member - Registered Active Voter"



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Ketchikan, Alaska