By Don Hoff Jr.
November 07, 2006
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
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
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?
Alaska Historic Preservation Act (Alaska Stat. §41.35.010
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
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 "
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
Bridge By Gov. Frank H. Murkowski
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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