SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



By Randy Williams


September 25, 2006

Don, Don, Don... Didn't we have a conversation in which I stated you would be more effective and get your point across if you stopped beating up on the white people. Does racism exist? Probably. Is it as bad as before? NO. Do your kids and my kids hang out with white kids? YES.

Now see, many of you think this is another Don Hoff Bash response but it is not, because, I believe in what Don is trying to do, we just disagree on how you say it. In 1971, Ketchikan Tribal members were forced to put their names on a document which essentially mis-represented our rights as Tribal peoples to determine our destiny. We were not given enough information or were provided mis-information and we today have paid the price. I don't believe anyone tried to deceive us, they said you have to choose a community or belong to Sealaska.

Since I was born in Ketchikan, I didn't have another community to choose and so I was forced to accept Sealaska or nothing. Why weren't Ketchikan Tribal members given a choice to choose their community and how could the Native leadership agree to exclude us? We the landless people were sold out for reasons I don't quite understand, except, "we got ours and well we tried to get you yours," so you see we could only belong to Sealaska.

Why hasn't the Native leadership in Ketchikan taken this on as a life long project like our parents and grandparents did by having our rights recognized? Don may say it in a different way but he is right on the money, when it comes to this issue, except that not all Ketchikan residents belong to your Tribe Don, don't forget us from a Klawock family who were born in Ketchikan, we suffer the same landless issue as you but I'm sure you are representing all our interests.

I for one don't believe in racism and as such do not blame the white people for our ills, we create our own space in this world and I don't wish to blame anyone for what has happened except our mis-placed or non-existent leadership. I will not point fingers because if I did one of those fingers would most certainly have to be pointed at myself.

But Don in his own way reminds us that we are all at fault and we can work together to fix it. I have made several overtures to support and work with any individual or Tribal group that wishes to make a sensible attempt at correcting this injustice but I believe that our leadership is so busy fighting amongst themselves and hiring and firing their General Managers that they don't have time for these important Tribal issues. When I offered my assistance, it was rewarded by a couple of nasty emails from previous leaders and or silence from others. Why are they afraid of help, they can have all the glory and press they want, all I want is to help the Tribal members of Ketchikan receive what is theirs by right, their ability to determine their own destiny.

A footnote to my friend Don, remember it is the White people and those politicians who are in office that will help us attain our goals, if we alienate them we create a hardship on ourselves. You are right on so many issues and topics and your research is and will be very helpful, but ask John Borbridge and the other Alaskan leaders, they did not achieve the corporate system for us by working in a vacuum, they had many non-Indian supporters and so will we.

The community of Ketchikan should get behind this issue because they can see what Saxman Corp has done for the community, enriched it with culture and business opportunities which have created employment for all the members of Ketchikan. This is not just a Tribal issue but a community issue as well, when Tribes do well, communities benefit from our efforts, it is time Ketchikan realizes this and backs our efforts. Let's all remember if you did not have our rich culture to portray and sell in your curio shops, would you have as much tourism? Probably not. If we all work together to achieve this goal of correcting the landless issue, we the Tribal members of Ketchikan, Ketchikan community members and the city of Ketchikan will be the beneficiaries.

Randy Williams
Omak WA - USA

About: "Former Chairman of KIC, Member of ANB, Tlingit & Haida


Related Viewpoints:

letter3,000 miles from Ketchikan By Don Hoff Jr. - Hixson, TN - USA

letter Start from scratch By Don Hoff Jr. - Hixson, TN - USA




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Ketchikan, Alaska