GRAB AND GO - Library patron Tina Johnson, left, and Joanna Perensovich, information services librarian, wear masks in the Sitka Library this afternoon. The library no longer has couches for patrons, but does have computer desks widely spaced apart for people to access for one-hour periods. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

June 15, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Unity, Revisited

Dear Editor: This letter is in response to the June 10 letter with the subject “Unity,” from Charles B. Dean. Mr. Dean’s short letter asks “what exact words retired General Mattis, and by extension, Senator Murkowski, would recommend the president use to ‘‘unite’’ law-abiding citizens with the looters and thugs plaguing several U.S. cities these days.” 

The title and wording of this brief letter are shocking for several reasons. How to respond concisely to such an abyss is overwhelming. 

This country was built with plenty of looting and thuggery, but your word choice does not identify you as someone who recognizes historical trauma and the many effects. That is the plague afflicting us. 

Amidst the tens of thousands of law-abiding protesters in all 50 states and across the globe, there were also some provocateurs, from both sides. 

Far from attempting words to unify us, our Provocateur in Chief tweets divisive lies. Take, for example, the police assault of the 75-year-old protester from Buffalo. Please find the June 9 Politico article titled “Trump’s Conspiracy Theory on 75-year-old Protester Draws Sharp Backlash.” 

And what about the many recent recorded instances of police illegally brutalizing peaceful demonstrators? Does this bother you? I encourage you to watch Steven Colbert’s 13-minute clip on YouTube titled “America’s Citizens Will Not Be Silenced By Government Intimidation.” 

What about the 1921 looting and massacre in Tulsa? Please read the Atlantic article titled “The Illustrated History of the Massacre of Black Wall Street.” Between 100-300 black residents were killed and 9,000 were left homeless. Twelve hundred black-owned buildings were destroyed and by today’s standards there was between $50-100 million in damages. This was committed by white looters and thugs. It took the city 80 years to release an official report. 

You see, there has been a variety of looting in this country. Don’t forget the Boston Tea Party! As Howard Zinn says, “There is an underside to every age about which history does not often speak, because history is written from the records left by the privileged.” 

Your supposed “call” for unity only speaks to divide more. Nevertheless, I will try to answer your question. Some words that the president could use to unify us would acknowledge and be respectful of the vast inequalities and historical trauma among us today. He could share some details he read about redlining practices, for example, or about the 1943 Detroit riots (White on Black). Plenty to acknowledge here in Alaska too! There is really quite a cornucopia of things he could say, regarding the past and present, to unify us. As far as what exact words he could use (as you asked) that would depend upon the context and his level of understanding. It really is an insensible question. 

Kari Johnson, Sitka

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-10-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of noon Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 51

Total statewide – 1,323

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 5 (2 resident; 3 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 13 (11 resident; 2 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 80.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 




Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

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Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

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