Inhabitants of the Tlingit village of 'Tongas', Alaska, c 1868
Photograph by Eadweard Muybridge, British-American photographer
This photograph is most likely from 1868 when he accompanied General Henry W Halleck's expedition to Alaska.
Courtesy National Museum of Science & Media / Science & Society Picture Library
In the decades after the United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, white settlers began arriving and the bountiful creek caught their attention as well.
As early as 1879, missionary Sheldon Jackson reported the presence of a white homesteader in "Tongas" Narrows. He noted that the homesteader, named Morrison, had invited Jackson - on a week long canoe trip from Wrangell to Port Simpson in British Columbia - to stay over. Jackson reported that Morrison had a vegetable garden and harvested salmon from a nearby stream.
Within a decade there were other arrivals. A man from Portland named Snow had a salmon saltery on what is now Pennock Island in 1883. Mike Martin, from Astoria, Oregon arrived in 1885 to scout cannery locations.
Several histories contend that Martin purchased the 160-acre Ketchikan townsite from "Papernose" Charlie. Charlie - who was also known as Charlie Dickson - indeed "sold" the townsite, but not directly to Martin. There was an intermediary, regional cannery owner A. W. Berry.
Papers in the Tongass Historical Museum show that Berry was the first purchaser and that he assigned his rights to Martin in 1892. In 1899, Martin sold his rights to 160 acres of Downtown Ketchikan to O.W. Grant.
In 1883, M.J. Kinney of Astoria, Oregon built a cannery in Boca de Quadra, a large inlet 39 miles south of "Tongass Narrows." It was called Cape Fox Packing and operated from 1883 to 1886. In 1886, Kinney sold the operation to another canneryman from Astoria, Capt. A.W. Berry. Within a few months Kinney had sued Berry for "fraud" over the purchase, but history does not record how that lawsuit was settled.
Berry decided to relocate the cannery to a stream called "Fish Creek", the modern-day Ketchikan Creek. The cannery, now called the Tongass Packing Company, was built near the current corner of Front and Dock streets and was operating by 1887. It packed 5,000 cases in its first year.
Meanwhile Berry set his sights on the land between the cannery and the creek
On April 17, 1888, Dickson "signed" over his "rights" to the area adjacent to "Kitchikan Creek" to Berry in Wrangell, which was the closet federal registry office. The sale price was $100 or $2,698 in 2020 dollars.
The property was described in the convoluted manner that was popular in 19th Century land deeds.
"Commencing at a point on a rock on the eastern side of Kitchikan Creek where it empties into Tongass Narrows at a point which is marked by a cross cut in the rock one foot above high water mark thence running northerly and westerly along the shore of said Tongass Narrows one mile to another point similarly marked, thence about right angles back from said shore one quarter of a mile to a cedar stake in which is cut a cross, thence to the right about right angles following a straight line generally parallel to said shoreline and one quarter mile distant therefrom to a point one quarter mile from said place of beginning marker with a cedar stake, thence about right angles to right one quarter mile to the place of beginning, containing 160 acres, more or less."
The rights to the 160 acres was transferred to Berry and his heirs "forever."
The transfer deed was witnessed by John Jack and Edward Marsden. Marsden was a respected local Native missionary. (See" Battle Between Sheldon Jackson, Father Duncan Played Out In Life of Rev. Edward Marsden," SITNEWS, March 19, 2012).
The document is "signed" by Charlie Dickson, but also contains an X, which is noted to be "his mark." So clearly Dickson didn't really sign the document.
That was how the 160 acres of Downtown Ketchikan ended up in the hands of non-Natives.
Interestingly enough, there is also a property transfer in the museum files that show Berry and his wife Mary transferring the same exactly described property from their personal ownership to that of Berry's company, Tongass Packing Company. That transfer was filed on March 24, 1888, three weeks before the transfer from Dickson to Berry was made.
Of course, none of this addresses a central fact of the story. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
The board oversees management of the state’s subsistence, commercial, sport and personal use fisheries. Appointments were made on April 1 and would normally go through a vigorous vetting process by the Alaska legislature with public input. But COVID-19 sent lawmakers home early from the last session, leaving the confirmation process in limbo.
Now, Representative Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) has set the date for a hearing.
“I tried to push it out as far as I thought I safely could because I know there’s a lot of guys out fishing. But I just didn’t dare push it any further than Thursday, September 3 at 10am at the Anchorage Legislative Information Office,” she said in a phone interview.
Stutes, who chairs the House Fisheries Committee, added: “I think it is appropriate to vet these appointees prior to the board meetings. I find it disturbing and I question how appointees can be a viable, countable vote when they have not been confirmed by the legislature, and that’s the situation now.”
Controversy has swirled over Dunleavy’s selection of Abe Williams of Anchorage, director of regional affairs for the Pebble Mine, proposed to be built at the headwaters of the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery at Bristol Bay.
Williams, who would replace Fritz Johnson of Dillingham, is originally from King Salmon and is a Bristol Bay fisherman. He was one of six who in 2019 sued the fishermen-funded Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association for using part of the 1% tax paid by its 1,650 members to oppose the mine. The lawsuit, funded by Pebble, was dismissed by an Anchorage judge.
Williams told KTUU in April that, "My job finds me in communities like Iliamna and other communities talking about the project itself and kind of what it means for the region. “Does that preclude me from being appointed or sitting on the Board of Fisheries? I don't think so. I think it just brings in a level of diversity in my background that really helps me be better positioned to sit in a coveted spot like this, if you will."
Current BOF member Marit Carlson-Van Dort also was a former Pebble Partnership director as recently as 2018.
Governor Dunleavy also appointed self-claimed fishing/hunting guide McKenzie Mitchell of Fairbanks to replace Reed Moriskey, also of Fairbanks. Mitchell is listed as adjunct faculty in “sport and recreation business” at the University of Alaska/Fairbanks School of Management.
Mitchell “has fished with several remote lodges over the years and was looking to upgrade her captains license so joined our team,” according to the website of Kodiak’s Wilderness Beach Lodge. It adds that “She goes to school in Fairbanks in the fall/winter where her and her boyfriend reside and enjoy flying their small planes into remote hunting/camping sites.”
A Personal Records Request was submitted to the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions for information about Mitchell.
“As far as these two appointments go, the Dunleavy administration is once again either out of touch with commercial fishermen at best, or out to get us at worst,” said Lindsey Bloom, a fisherman and a campaign strategist for SalmonState. “I fished around Abe in Bristol Bay and certainly respect his skills and knowledge as a commercial fisherman. That said, his employment with Pebble makes it impossible for him to properly represent the overwhelming majority of Bristol Bay fishermen who oppose the Pebble project because of its detriment to the Bristol Bay brand and fishery. Abe's appointment is a colossal conflict of interest. As far as McKenzie Mitchell goes, I can't find her resume, background or opinions anywhere online and have no idea if she can bring the listening and discernment skills that a seat on Alaska's Board of Fisheries requires, where decisions are made that impact the livelihoods and wellbeing of Alaskans for years to come."
If the governor has his way, all fish board members but one will reside inland.
“There are seven Board of Fish members and John Jensen of Petersburg will be the only coastal representation,” said Stutes. “I understand that interior fisheries are important, but so are coastal fisheries. There should be a fair distribution of the resource representation and there isn’t. It’s just wrong.”
If the legislature gets called back to Juneau to deal with budget and Covid relief issues and it interferes with the September 3, date Stutes said she will call a hearing there.
“Bottom line is there will be a hearing prior to the first Board of Fish meeting in October. I believe it’s critical to give people an opportunity to weigh in,” she said.
After the hearing, the appointee names will be forwarded to the House Resources Committee and then to the full legislature for confirmation (or not). An emergency measure due to the pandemic was implemented (HB309) which temporarily extended the time for the legislature to meet jointly to take up the governor’s appointments prior to the next legislative session in January. If that does not occur, Stutes said the nominees will simply “go away.”
Meanwhile, they will be seated as voting members during the meetings starting in October that focus on Prince William Sound, Upper Copper and Susitna Rivers and Southeast and Yakutat regions.
“They are just like a regular board member and that to me is problematic. I believe they should be confirmed by the legislature. It’s a goofed up system,” Stutes said.
Public comments on the Board of Fisheries appointees can be emailed to Stutes’ legislative office at email@example.com
Dromaeosaurids are a group of predatory dinosaurs closely related to birds, whose members include well-known species such as Deinonychus and Velociraptor. These dinosaurs lived all over the world, but their bones are often small and delicate and rarely preserve well in the fossil record, complicating efforts to understand the paths they took as they dispersed between continents.
The Prince Creek Formation of northern Alaska preserves the largest collection of polar dinosaur fossils in the world, dating to about 70 million years ago, but the only dromaeosaurid remains found so far have been isolated teeth. The jaw fossil described in this study is a mere 14mm long and preserves only the tip of the lower jaw, but it is the first known non-dental dromaeosaurid fossil from the Arctic. Statistical analysis indicates this bone belongs to a close relative of the North American Saurornitholestes.
North American dromaeosaurids are thought to trace their origins to Asia, and Alaska would have been a key region for the dispersal of their ancestors. This new fossil is a tantalizing clue toward understanding what kinds of dromaeosaurs inhabited this crucial region. Furthermore, the early developmental stage of the bone suggests this individual was still young and was likely born nearby; in contrast to previous suggestions that this part of Alaska was exclusively a migratory pathway for many dinosaurs, this is strong evidence that some dinosaurs were nesting here. The authors suggest that future findings may allow a more complete understanding of these mysterious Arctic dromaeosaurids. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
Now, light has been shed on the origin of the sledge dog. In a new study published in SCIENCE, researchers from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, show that the sledge dog is both older and has adapted to the Arctic much earlier than thought. The research was conducted in collaboration with the University of Greenland and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Barcelona.
'We have extracted DNA from a 9,500-year-old dog from the Siberian island of Zhokhov, which the dog is named after. Based on that DNA we have sequenced the oldest complete dog genome to date, and the results show an extremely early diversification of dogs into types of sledge dogs', says one of the two first authors of the study, PhD student Mikkel Sinding, the Globe Institute.
Until now, it has been the common belief that the 9,500-year-old Siberian dog, Zhokhov, was a kind of ancient dog - one of the earliest domesticated dogs and a version of the common origin of all dogs. But according to the new study, modern sledge dogs such as the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute and the Greenland sledge dog share the major part of their genome with Zhokhov.
'This means that modern sledge dogs and Zhokhov had the same common origin in Siberia more than 9,500 years ago. Until now, we have thought that sledge dogs were only 2-3,000 years old', says the other first author, Associate Professor Shyam Gopalakrishnan, Globe Institute. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
But a few hours later I saw the rock she was talking about. It appeared to be a granite tor, but looked more like a mushroom than the gray fingers and fists we Alaskans recognize.
What is a granite tor? We have those blocky towers of rock here in Interior Alaska, and in other places that escaped being run over by glaciers.
Because Alaska is such a cold place, and is home to thousands of glaciers, it’s hard to believe that its cold heart was once a grassland, when Manhattan and Chicago were smothered beneath blue ice.
Twenty-thousand years ago, at the height of the last ice age, Alaska was connected to Siberia in a wide, grassy plain, the home of horses and bison. The Bering Land Bridge was free of ice, as was middle Alaska, from Nome eastward to Eagle and beyond to the Yukon Territory.
All of Alaska was not ice-free, though. During the most recent ice age, the Alaska Range and all the land south of it was beneath an ice sheet. To the north, the Brooks Range was also solid ice, as was an area of Southwest Alaska where quirky glaciers still exist in the Ahklun Mountains.
If glaciers had pressed down in Interior Alaska, they would have sheared off the rock protrusions we know as tors. Where you find tors, you can imagine a Pleistocene pathway for plants and animals.
Tors exist in areas where there is granite, a coarse-grained, hard rock. After many, many years of wind and water eroding softer materials away, the granite tors have endured.
“Most of the Interior’s big tors predate the Last Glacial Maximum (about 20,000 years ago) and are the product of literally millions of years of weathering in ice-free terrain,” said Dan Mann, a University of Alaska Fairbanks expert on ancient landscapes.
In Alaska, water enters the cracks in tors and, when it freezes, shoves the rocks apart. Over thousands of years, tors shed their own rocky terraces. These plateaus, often covered with low vegetation, are nearly flat, and can be pleasant places to walk.
The tors started as blobs of molten rock deep within the earth. The magma rose through denser rock, hardened into granite and eventually met the air as the ground surface weathered away. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
There’s a clear consensus that Americans should wear masks in public and continue to practice proper social distancing. While a majority of Americans support wearing masks, widespread and consistent compliance has proven difficult to maintain in communities across the country. Demonstrators gathered outside city halls in Scottsdale, Arizona; Austin, Texas; and other cities to protest local mask mandates. Several Washington state and North Carolina sheriffs have announced they will not enforce their state’s mask order.
I’ve researched the history of the 1918 pandemic extensively. At that time, with no effective vaccine or drug therapies, communities across the country instituted a host of public health measures to slow the spread of a deadly influenza epidemic: They closed schools and businesses, banned public gatherings and isolated and quarantined those who were infected. Many communities recommended or required that citizens wear face masks in public – and this, not the onerous lockdowns, drew the most ire.
In mid-October of 1918, amidst a raging epidemic in the Northeast and rapidly growing outbreaks nationwide, the United States Public Health Service circulated leaflets recommending that all citizens wear a mask. The Red Cross took out newspaper ads encouraging their use and offered instructions on how to construct masks at home using gauze and cotton string. Some state health departments launched their own initiatives, most notably California, Utah and Washington.
Nationwide, posters presented mask-wearing as a civic duty – social responsibility had been embedded into the social fabric by a massive wartime federal propaganda campaign launched in early 1917 when the U.S. entered the Great War. San Francisco Mayor James Rolph announced that “conscience, patriotism and self-protection demand immediate and rigid compliance” with mask wearing. In nearby Oakland, Mayor John Davie stated that “it is sensible and patriotic, no matter what our personal beliefs may be, to safeguard our fellow citizens by joining in this practice” of wearing a mask.
Health officials understood that radically changing public behavior was a difficult undertaking, especially since many found masks uncomfortable to wear. Appeals to patriotism could go only so far. As one Sacramento official noted, people “must be forced to do the things that are for their best interests.” The Red Cross bluntly stated that “the man or woman or child who will not wear a mask now is a dangerous slacker.” Numerous communities, particularly across the West, imposed mandatory ordinances. Some sentenced scofflaws to short jail terms, and fines ranged from US$5 to $200.
Passing these ordinances was frequently a contentious affair. For example, it took several attempts for Sacramento’s health officer to convince city officials to enact the order. In Los Angeles, it was scuttled. A draft resolution in Portland, Oregon led to heated city council debate, with one official declaring the measure “autocratic and unconstitutional,” adding that “under no circumstances will I be muzzled like a hydrophobic dog.” It was voted down.
Utah’s board of health considered issuing a mandatory statewide mask order but decided against it, arguing that citizens would take false security in the effectiveness of masks and relax their vigilance. As the epidemic resurged, Oakland tabled its debate over a second mask order after the mayor angrily recounted his arrest in Sacramento for not wearing a mask. A prominent physician in attendance commented that “if a cave man should appear…he would think the masked citizens all lunatics.”
In places where mask orders were successfully implemented, noncompliance and outright defiance quickly became a problem. Many businesses, unwilling to turn away shoppers, wouldn’t bar unmasked customers from their stores. Workers complained that masks were too uncomfortable to wear all day. One Denver salesperson refused because she said her “nose went to sleep” every time she put one on. Another said she believed that “an authority higher than the Denver Department of Health was looking after her well-being.” As one local newspaper put it, the order to wear masks “was almost totally ignored by the people; in fact, the order was cause of mirth.” The rule was amended to apply only to streetcar conductors – who then threatened to strike. A walkout was averted when the city watered down the order yet again. Denver endured the remainder of the epidemic without any measures protecting public health. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
How about newscasts with their endless stream of titillating revelations coyly attributed to “reliable sources,” “people close to the matter,” “people familiar with the situation,” “people who thought the situation was a cast member of ‘Jersey Shore’,” etc.?
The whole concept of “close to the situation” is overrated. Lots of people “close to the situation” can’t see the forest for the trees until Columbo, Poirot or Jessica Fletcher waltz in and make them look like doofuses.
The overkill derives from the hyper-competitive 24-7 news cycle and the need to go beyond “dog bites man” and “man bites dog” to “man bites dog for not delivering the nuclear missile toads to a Russian duffle agent, or at least that’s what my source THOUGHT he overheard. Darned noisy pencil sharpener!”
Every reporter aspires to be Woodward and/or Bernstein. Or at least SOME 70s icon. (“Running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Boxing in a meat locker? Drinking raw eggs? I’m settling for Woodward and Bernstein!”)
Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely some true red-blooded heroes among the anonymous sources, but probably ALL the snitches envision themselves as being simply ordinary “aw, shucks” citizens whom Destiny thrust into just the right place at the right time to save the republic from an existential threat. Just like Destiny thrust them into just the right place (on their big brother’s shoulders) at the right time (two weeks before Christmas, 1995) to search the top shelf in their parents’ bedroom closet. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
PETER ROFF:TO GROW THE ECONOMY, PUT OFF TAX PAYMENTS UNTIL 2021 - All presidents must deal with things they did not expect FDR had the Great Depression and World War II. Kennedy had the Cuban Missile Crisis. George H. W. Bush had Saddam Hussein. And Donald Trump has had COVID-19.
Despite what critics say, Trump has responded well to the coronavirus pandemic. He mobilized the federal government and private industry in ways not seen in decades. It’s likely the interventions he sparked led to faster testing on a broader scale, helped keep the spread of COVID-19 under control, and resulted in fewer deaths than might otherwise have been the case.
We’ll never know for sure. The experts’ models were way off, even when early-stage interventions are factored in. Concerns about the current spike in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 should be tempered by relief that considerably fewer people are dying from it.
Meanwhile, as the result of actions taken by many of the nation’s governors (mostly in blue states), the U.S. economy hit the skids. A record number of jobs have been lost, and Congress tried to make up for it with a flood of new spending it will take at least a decade of above-average economic growth to get it back.
It would be good for the country if Trump focused on measures going forward to get the economy off its back. Businesses must reopen, governors must lift lockdowns and, if they are needed again if the hypothetical second wave hits, they need to be localized, specific, and well thought out. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
Tackling Alaska’s High Health Care Costs By Bethany Marcum - Unfortunately, many Alaskans have personally borne the brunt of our state’s extremely high health care costs in recent years. But having some of the most expensive health care in the nation wasn’t always the case for Alaska. In fact, per-capita expenditures on health care used to be about the same as the national average.
A new report, authored by a nationally-respected health care economist, shows that Alaskan per-capita expenditures on health care have been growing significantly faster than the national average over the last 30-some years. Nationally, spending on health care has been fairly stable over the past two decades, but Alaska’s has continued unabated. The report found that Alaska’s annual per-capita health care expenditures were more than $11,000—higher than any other state.
Thirty years ago, Alaska’s per-capita spending on health care was about the same as the national average. In the early 2000s, however, expenditures in Alaska began to grow . . . and kept growing. In particular, Alaska’s per-capita expenditures on hospital care are now 50 percent higher than the national average, and 80 percent higher for physician and clinical services. Let me repeat that – per-capita spending for physician and clinical services in our state is up to 80 percent more than the national average.
Why is health care spending in Alaska so much higher? Well, the short answer is unhelpful state regulations. The long answer, as explained in the new report, is that various state regulations, along with other unique Alaskan factors such as population density, have influenced the high spending on health care. According to Dr. Benedic Ippolito, the author of the report, these factors include: - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
Acknowledging the existence of racism in our community both past and present By Sid Hartley - Ketchikan’s rich cultural roots, not surprisingly, are jungled with the noxious weed that is oppression and systemic racism. As we examine this historical truth, we also singe the idealist illusion that, the so-called “American Dream” buries the past, and that the integrity among some first responders might exempt the acknowledgement of horrific history inflicted by their predecessors. While this reality can be hard to accept by first responders that commit their lives to the safety and welfare of modern-day Ketchikan, it is vital that we address these generationally lingering traumas, if we are going to walk alongside the footprints of decolonization and equity.
On Ketchikan City Council’s committee led by Councilwoman Emily Chapel, a letter was drafted with the intention of collaborating with Ketchikan Police Department, as well as seeking counsel from oppressed populations in Ketchikan, and the advisement of Clan Leaders of the regions First Peoples. City Manager, Karl Amylon rejected Councilwoman Chapel’s request for collaboration, responding that the committee-drafted letter should redundantly be approved by the Council. Again, the proposal was put in front of the Council, this time with an explicit outline of its intention: - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
THE GRATUITOUS AND GRANDIOSE FRAUD THAT IS ONEALASKA.COM By David G Hanger - There is an initiative to claw back a pittance of the theft of the oil that is the property of all citizens of this state that is on the ballot in November. Despite, indeed in part because, of the very subliminal intent of the advertising by OneAlaska.com I doubt many of you even realize there is such a ballot initiative. What pretends to be a state government has no real intent of informing you about this ballot measure. They are owned lock, stock, and barrel by our true masters, the biggest thieves in the history of the world, these rotten, filthy, and totally corrupt oil companies.
You might recall their first wave of BS back in February and March. There was the one about the $2.7 billion they had paid to the state in the past roughly ten years, pointing out what good guys they were for paying this; yet the reality is that is less than one-tenth what they should have been paying.
Then there was the one about how the oil companies directly provided 25% of all the jobs in Alaska, and, in addition, for every oil company job 15 Alaska jobs were created as spin-off; which means the oil companies have provided about 500% of all the jobs in Alaska. That is a truly amazing feat. (It is also an indication of how stupid they think you all are.)
Brought to you by Exxon-Mobil, Conoco-Phillips, and Hilcorp in the finest small print available, splashed on the screen in a milli-second, we now have Cap’n Bob and Campground Mike telling us how taxes are bad for them and bad for the oil companies, that no one should be taxed during this terrible pandemic.
In other words the oil companies are using the tragedy of this damned pandemic to try to convince you that taxing them is bad, when in fact they are the biggest thieves in the history of the world already. If they are not taxed, you will be, or you will get nothing from the state. Eliminating the ferries, closing the universities, eliminating senior citizen services, the list goes on and on. Many of these things have already been shut down because there are no funds to finance them. Why? Because the oil companies are stealing our oil. - More...
Monday PM - July 13, 2020
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