SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Desecration Bridge
By Don Hoff Jr.


November 07, 2006
Tuesday AM

This is a retort to Governor Frank Murkowski's opinion letter written October 30, 2006 regarding the proposed boondoggle bridge to Gravina Island via Pennock Island in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Governor Murkowski has a major "conflict of interest" pushing this proposed bridge to nowhere because of the 33 acre family owned gold mine plots named Goldstring and Goldstone sites just south of Clam Cove on Gravina Island. Property valued at $245,000. Not only is that, developers proposing to construct a road connecting Clam Cove. I recently flew into Ketchikan a saw the butchering of the landscape that has already started by developers are speculating that the proposed bridge will be built; this is not what visitors coming to Ketchikan want to see.

It always been my concern that our Native grave sites on Pennock Island will cause further desecration by people building homes, roads or grave robbing by exposing them by easy access caused by the proposed bridge through Pennock Island. The DOT&PF met with the wrong Native Organization in the first place. Ketchikan Indian Community does not speak for the Taan ta Kwaan or known as Tongass Tribe. Tongass Tribe has elected Tribal members to conduct Tribal business in Ketchikan since the Tribe re-organized in 1986.

Frank, you grew up in Ketchikan and you know that there was Native Grave sites from the Southern tip to the Northern tip of Pennock Island. Today, Pennock Island is still an active grave yard for the Tongass Tribe protected by BLM. We recently buried a Tribal member of the Bear Clan on Pennock Island. I know that the Village of Saxman opposed the proposed bridge project. If you know and recognize the importance and sacred nature of any such sites, why are you not recognizing our Native concerns about the proposed bridge? You are willing to break your own State and Federal laws protecting Native grave sites?

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.

On Sept. 29, you met with only two dozen partisan elected bridge supporters, civic leaders and friends in Ketchikan that some of them also have a conflict of interest by owning land on Pennock Island or Gravina Island.

I was arguing against the bridge project since my term as City Councilman in Ketchikan starting 1986. Just look at the millions of tax payer's dollar went into to proposed bridge project to date so you and few rich people can drive over to your properties. $328 million dollars is the total costs to the American Tax payers for a bridge to "No-where" and not counting the costs of planning, so it is not just a Native issue. It was called pork barrel spending for a reason. This bridge project came to Ketchikan at the wrong time and wrong place.

My question to you Governor, where are you going to live after you retire from politics? Ketchikan? Yes, I am living in Chattanooga, TN. but I plan to move back to Ketchikan in the near future to retire. I only hope when I come home to Ketchikan, that I might still enjoy riding over the Tongass Narrows on the Airport Ferry which makes going to Ketchikan unique.

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

Received November 05, 2006 - Published November 07, 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) and American Tax Payer "


Related Viewpoint:

letter Ketchikan's Bridge By Gov. Frank H. Murkowski



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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


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