SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Landless in Ketchikan
By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.


October 28, 2007
Sunday PM

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 today.

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
Hixson, TN

About: "Tongass Tribe member. Sealaska Shareholder at large. Landless. Former Vice Mayor/Councilman - City of Ketchikan."

Received October 28, 2007 - Published October 28, 2007



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Ketchikan, Alaska