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 26, 2020, Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor: I read with concern the letter from Doug Osborne regarding removal of the Baranof statue in front of Centennial Hall.

Removing statues and monuments that may offend a few people (in this case apparently less than 10 percent of our population) does not change history. If Baranof is to be removed, it must be put to a vote, not the whim of a few. We live in a constitutional republic where freedom of expression is honored and available to all, but attempting to rewrite history by removing certain historical symbols should be offensive to everyone. History is to be learned from, not destroyed.

Think for a moment, if the Baranof statue is offensive, then what about the names Baranof Island, Chichagof Island, Neva Island, Kruzof Island, Krestof Island, etc, etc. Do we need to rename many of the streets in Sitka that bear Russian names? Do we need to remove the Russian Blockhouse, Princess Maksoutoff’s grave, the Russian cemetery? Those actions would be nonsensical and no one would be better off for them.

People need to learn from history, the good and bad parts, not try to cancel it or rewrite it to make it more palatable to some. All or our heritage and history is valuable, Native American, Russian and United States, and should be preserved for all citizens to know, evaluate, and learn from. A clear-eyed look at the past can help guide us into a better future.

Dr. Fred H. Everest, Sitka


Baranof Statue

Dear Editor: Revisionist history used to mean history that had been changed/altered to reflect one person’s or group’s or country’s version of an event. Today it means corrected history. An example is that when I was little, we learned that Columbus discovered America in 1492. We now know that he completely missed this continent and ended up in the West Indies. Our history has been revised to reflect these new discoveries.

The majority of Germans would like nothing better than the removal of all reminders of the concentration camps the Nazis built under their noses during WWII. That would be what is called negationist history. Thankfully, the world will not allow that. 

This country, like the rest of the world, has been at war with COVID-19 for what seems like years, as we hunker down in our homes, trying to stay safe from this often deadly virus. The world outside is a threat to our lives and livelihoods. This has resulted in a very high amount of stress in populations, and continues to have catastrophic economic impact. Frustration and anger abound, and we here in Sitka are no different.

The event surrounding the statue of Alexander Baranov Tuesday in front of Centennial Hall was a result of frustration and anger and simmering hatred. Yet to remove his statue would be negationist history. We cannot change the past. And, we have to accept that Russian influences abound around this state, and that the U.S. purchased Alaska from Russia.

I ask those of you who cannot stand any reminder of Baranof to do a quick search for Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Three years ago, we visited this site. It is a totally different site than the one I visited with my family 60 years ago. We spent five hours here, and we could have spent five more. It is the most peaceful, the most hallowed national park we have ever seen or visited in this country. (Gettysburg comes close, but not quite.)

The peoples of Sitka could take lessons from what has happened at this site. It is a place of healing; it is not a place of forgetfulness. All sides of that huge battle are represented and honored. As burials are continuing to be discovered, the remains are reburied according to custom, and a stone plaque is placed above them. If a name is known, it is added as well. The hills are scattered with red and white plaques over almost 800 acres. There are two beautiful and large circular monuments that face each other, the walls of which tell the story of what happened there, from beginning to end, from the varied points of views of the combatants. 

All of this was done working with all parties involved in that battle, and the work continues, as stories continue to be added. 

This park is an example of what revisionist history can do for those of us who were not alive, but who want to know the truth of history, from all sides. 

There has been a credible threat this week to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota because it has faces of men who owned slaves. The governor has taken steps to keep that national monument safe. What has been happening around this country, the threat of which has reached this community, is beyond all reason, and is negationism at its worst; let’s try revisionist history, shall we? Let’s ADD all points of view of what happened here. 


G. L. Hammons, 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.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

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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.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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