SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Boondoggle Bridge
By Don Hoff Jr.


October 08, 2006

Governor Frank H. Murkowski, R-Alaska is still trying to ram the proposed Gravina Island via Pennock Island Boondoggle Bridge down our tax payer's throats in Ketchikan, Alaska. Governor Murkowski has a major conflict of interest. Governor Frank Murkowski has family owned properties on Gravina Island. The Murkowskis own a 33 acre gold mine plots named Goldstring and Goldstone sites just south of Clam Cove on Gravina Island. Property valued at $250,000.

Governor Murkowski will include $195 million budget request for Gravina Access project in FY 2008 Capital Budget. The Governor met with approximately two dozen Ketchikan elected and community leaders wondering how to proceed with the Gravina Access project they are calling it now. The proposed bridge is going to cost more than $315 million taxpayers' dollars to start construction. Where is the rest of the money coming from, Gov. Frank?

Pennock Island is Tribal Grave yard sites for the Taan ta Kwaan and Saan ya Kwaan. The Tribal graves stretch from the Southern tip to Northern tip of Pennock Island facing Ketchikan. Has anybody even thought of asking the Native community what they thought about the proposed bridge to Gravina Island via Pennock Island? There are State and Federal laws protecting Tribal gravesites.

Do you think Alaskan Natives or Tribes in Alaska are going to allow any removal or further desecration of Tribal graves on Pennock Island or any Tribal Grave sites in Alaska so a few opulent people can drive over a bridge? Are the Federal, State and Local Governments Officials above the law?

Alaska Historic Preservation Act (Alaska Stat. §41.35.010 through §41.35.240):

Summary: Alaska has no specific laws dealing with reburial or repatriation of prehistoric human remains or an unmarked graves law, §41.35.190(c) of the Alaska Historic Preservation Act does state that "No person may unlawfully destroy, mutilate, deface, injure, remove or excavate a gravesite or a tomb, monument, gravestone or other structure or object at a gravesite, even though the gravesite appears to be abandoned, lost or neglected." Native Alaskan consent is required for excavation of native sites and landowner consent is required for excavation on private lands.

The Alaska Historical Commission has responsibility for managing and protecting all prehistoric and historic sites in the state and issues permits for excavations. Nothing may diminish cultural rights or responsibilities of persons of aboriginal decent or infringe upon their right of possession, and use of those resources and local cultural groups may obtain from the state resources of respective cultural if meet certain criteria. Violations of the Historic Preservation Act provisions are considered a class a misdemeanor and civil
penalties may be assessed up to $100,000 per violation and up to one year in jail. And, ...

NAGPRA is an acronym from Native American Graves & Preservation Repatriation Act passed by Congress in 1993. The act had a time frame for all museums and other repository of Native American sacred objects and etc. to be inventoried, identified from what tribe, and disseminated to tribes of these items. The tribes have the long process of declaring these items and proving that it belongs to them. Also, this act is protecting our gravesites.

I suggested an underwater tunnel years ago like they have in the Chesapeake Bay tunnels in Virginia and it would not impede ships and boats navigating Tongass Narrows, but fell on deaf ears.

In closing, the American Tax payers said no to "pork barrel spending". The Federal money will be better spent for hurricane Katrina victims to rebuild in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. If the bridge was going to be built, it should have been built in 1972 when the airport was being constructed so what if Juneau or Sitka has a bridge. That is a lame excuse or justification for proposed boondoggle bridge in Ketchikan. If Frank and the few people that want a bridge to drive over, there are thousands of existing bridges you folks can drive over in the lower 48. You folks can drive over bridges all day long if you want to. This is my opinion.

Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.
Gaanax adi Clan
Yei l Hit
Taan ta Kwaan
Hixson, TN - USA

Received October 05, 2006 - Published October 08, 2006

About: "Past City Councilman and Vice Mayor - City of Ketchikan; Past Board of Director - Ketchikan Public Utilities; Past O.S.H.A. Review Boardmember - State of Alaska; Past I.R.A. Councilman - Ketchikan Indian Community. Tongass Tribe member of the Gaanax adi Clan, Yei l Hit (Raven House). "

Related News:

Governor Will Include $195 Million Budget Request for Gravina Access Project in FY 2008 Capital Budget - Governor Frank H. Murkowski met in Ketchikan with over two dozen Ketchikan elected and community leaders Friday in an effort to reach a consensus on how to proceed with the Gravina Access project. - More...
Monday - October 02, 2006



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Ketchikan, Alaska