SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Aan Kadax Tseen is my Name
By Aan Kadax Tseen


October 09, 2006

We are being assimilated in the White Culture faster than ever, as our elders pass away and most of us cannot speak our own language. My Grandfather told me once, "in order to survive in the white man's world, we have to learn the white man's ways". I cannot place the blame on our elders; however, they were trying to survive in fast changing times. As Native People today, what do we do now?

With a sound mind, I will not use my name Donald F. Hoff Jr. I will use my Tlingit name, Aan Kadax Tseen from this day forward when I am writing, making public speeches or if I introduce myself to you. The name Aan Kadax Tseen was given to me by Albert Davis, Chief of the Coho (Raven) house, who lived in Sitka, Alaska. Albert said the closest translation on my name that he was born with is, "a happy man in a village". To help perpetuate our Native Culture we should use our Indian names and get rid of your given names. The Black People called, slave names .

I challenge you as I challenge myself to practice your traditions, learn your language, study your tribal history, and learn how to subsist off the land and sea. Go to your Elders and make an effort to find out your Tribe, Family Crest, Clan and House. You will find an enlightenment phase of your life. Knowing who you are is power and a sense of being.

We don't have to give up anything. We can still keep our jobs, eat at McDonald's, shop at Wal-Mart, use cell phones, drive our cars, watch H.D.T.V. and live in a house. We don't have to go live the old ways with out the modern conveniences that make our lives easier. Our people adapt. If they had electric sewing machines or cars back in 1867, they would have used them. We don't have to give up our Culture, History, Subsistence or Our Land You can re-organize your Tribe to conduct Tribal business. I have a Native leader friend that said, "We can sing, dance our traditional way and we can make good button blankets, but that doesn't constitute a tribe." He is right.

In closing, if you look like an Alaskan Indian, talk like an Alaskan Indian, practice being Alaskan Indian by using your Indian name, you must be Alaskan Indian. Don't do this because I said to, do it because it is the right thing to do for yourself, family and survival of your Tribe. My name is Aan Kadax Tseen.

This is my opinion.

Gunalcheesh, ho ho

Aan Kadax Tseen
Gaanax adi Clan
Yei l Hit
Taan ta Kwaan
Hixson, TN - USA

Received October 09, 2006 - Published October 09, 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). "



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Ketchikan, Alaska