Being Alaskan Native, My Philsophy
By Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.
October 28, 2007
This is my philosophy of life on being an Alaskan Native. Life
is nothing but choices of whom you are and going to be. There
are leaders, managers and followers. Real Native leaders are
willing to take risks and cross the line on important issues
that affect his or her family, clan and tribe. Managers usually
won't take risks.
People in the American brainwashed society are led to believe,
"we are all created equal." We are not as Alaskan Natives
treated equal. We indigenous peoples of the United States have
to carry a card proving we are Indians and belong to a tribe.
I don't mind being criticizing by my opponents of any issue I
write about. But I am being criticized by my own people. They
don't like my tactics or feel embarrassed by my opinions. My
answer to all my critics: I know where my heart is and where
my loyalties lie. I am Tlingit/Tsimshian. I am Gaanax adi Clan,
Drifting to Shore Housel/Raven House, Taan ta Kwaan (Sea-lion
People) or known as Tongass Tribe. Indigenous to Ketchikan and
all lands as far as you eyes can see from Ketchikan. To my Native
sisters and brothers, "Where is your heart?" and "Where
do your loyalties lie?" Your family and tribe should come
Should we go through life as Alaskan Natives and continue to
be subservient to the non-Native society? Should we always have
to negotiate for everything that all ready belongs to us? Our
way of life, subsistence rights, lands and all our natural resources?
Should we have to assimilate into the non-Native society?
The proposed bridge to Gravina Island via Pennock Island that
was going to cause further desecration to our tribal graves on
Pennock Island, are the graves not worth protecting? Where is
your heart? At the very least, say something. How far are you
willing to go to protect your family graves on Pennock Island?
Remember, they are not all Tongass tribal members buried there.
There are Haida graves, Tsimshian graves and even non-natives
buried there because their families could not afford to be buried
at Bay View Cemetery in Ketchikan.
We as Alaskan Natives have to stop all this inter-tribal fighting
amongst ourselves. The enemy is not other Indians. I have learned
from my elders. If we are going to fight and argue, we will do
it behind closed doors. We vow to not display our differences
to outsiders. Indian business is Indian business only. We don't
run to the press. Ketchikan Indian Community is a sovereign government.
We have our own laws that govern our people. The state of Alaska
does not recognize tribes or Indian Country. Why should we recognize
Quit worrying about who's going to be the leader. This reminds
me of a story I heard about a bunch of crabs in a gunny sack.
They all wanted out, so one of the crabs made it to the top and
was just ready to crawl out when another crab grabbed it and
pulled it back down into the gunny sack. The point is that if
some Native person wants to be the leader, don't pull him or
her back down into the gunny sack. Support them because they
are showing courage and the willingness to cross that line to
In closing, don't be embarrassed by my thoughts. I don't believe
I have to justify my beliefs or opinions. What happens if you
do nothing? Say nothing? Nothing happens, that's what! I will
protect my family and Tribe. For those people that wonder when
I am coming home to live in Alaska, it will be soon.
This is my opinion.
Aan Kadax Tseen aka Don Hoff Jr.
About: "Tongass Tribe
member - indigenous to Ketchikan area. Ketchikan Indian Community
Received October 26, 2007 -
Published October 28, 2007
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