Landless in Ketchikan
By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.
October 28, 2007
The Sealaska Corporation newsletter sent October, 2007. Southeast
Alaska Lands Bill: Fulfillment of a Promise to Alaska Natives:
Good for the Economies, Good for the Environment story. The U.S.
Government owes Sealaska Corporation 85,000 acres of land to
fulfill their obligation to Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
of 1971 (ANCSA). The act promised that the Native people of Southeast
Alaska would gain ownership of productive, culturally significant
lands. With that said.
There are four Landless Communities that were left out of any
entitled land claims; Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg and Tennakee
Springs, Alaska. These communities are Tlingit Villages. I will
speak to Ketchikan land claims/history. Ketchikan belongs to
the Taan ta Kwaan (Sealion People) or known as Tongass Tribe.
Saanya Kwaan (Cape Fox People) gifted Ketchikan Creek area to
the Gaanax adi Clan as a wedding gift, before the
Non-native encroachment began.
Ketchikan was a Tlingit summer fish camp. Tongass Tribe had winter
villages at one time on Annette Island (where Metlakatla is today),
Village Island, Tongass Island, Duke Island, Long Island and
Prince of Wales Island.
Now 35 years later since the Land Claim Act passed, Regional
Corporations and Village Corporations were formed. It is our
turn to have a village corporation in Ketchikan! Tongass Tribe
is one of the oldest Tribes in the Tlingit Nation. Tongass Tribe
has aboriginal rights to Ketchikan and to all surrounding lands.
Why didn't Ketchikan get village corporation status 35 years
ago? Don't know, we speculate that we didn't have any representation
before the ANCSA passed before 1971. Regardless, Tongass Tribe
entitled to its share of ANCSA lands owed by the Federal Government
It is my opinion, that Regional and Village corporations were
formed to extract all our natural resources; timber, oil, minerals
and fish by Non-Native interests. Sealaska shareholders have
not benefited from our corporation! We wait twice a year for
our meager dividend check that is mostly supported by (7i) revenue
sharing by other Regional Corporations in the State of Alaska.
Do you know where your Sealaska Corporation lands are? I don't.
Have you ever walked on your so-called Native Lands? I haven't.
I want land that belongs to my tribe Tongass Tribe. I want land
that I can build a house on. I want land that I can walk on.
I want land that rightfully belongs to us. I want land that I
have control and control our destiny. I want land to save for
future generations of Tongass Tribe members. I want land to save
all our natural resources to perpetuate our people future if
we want too.
It is my opinion that future procurement of Native Land Claims
from the Federal Government should go to Traditional Tribes rather
than our Sealaska Corporation. Tongass Tribe is been reorganized
to conduct business since 1986 and meets on a regular basis or
as problems arise to discuss or vote on. At the very least, gets
an opportunity for Village Corporation status. Taan ta Kwaan,
Inc has a nice ring.
I know that having a new Village Corporation in Ketchikan will
be good economic development and creates a lot of jobs not just
for our shareholders, everybody directly or indirectly.
In closing, it would be in the best interest to everyone involved
to let the owed Land Claims go through its processes we will
argue later on what we should develop this land or divide land
up be patient, we waited 35 years. So what are a couple more
years! This is my opinion.
Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.
Gaanax adi Clan
Drifting to Shore House/Raven House
Taan ta Kwaan
About: "Tongass Tribe
member. Sealaska Shareholder at large. Landless. Former Vice
Mayor/Councilman - City of Ketchikan."
Received October 28, 2007 -
Published October 28, 2007
Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:
Your Opinion Letter to the Editor
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
E-mail your letters
& opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your full name, city and state are required for publication.
Stories In The News