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 30, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Baranof Statue

Dear Editor: I was 9 years old in 1989 when the Baranof statue was erected. At that time, I remember hearing stories from my elders about the atrocities Baranof committed against the Aleut and Tlingit peoples. However, I was taught the colonial version in the Sitka school system. My own son is now 9 years old and I am thankful to the Sitka Native Education Program and the recent Sitka School District administration for the increase of culturally relevant curriculum in our schools.

I hope that trend continues to improve so that a more accurate history is taught to my own children. In addition to being descendants of Cherokee ancestors that walked the trail of tears, my children are also German citizens. My mother-in-law was 12 years old when WWII ended and my husband was educated in Germany before becoming a U.S. citizen.

I was surprised by G.L. Hammons’, a former teacher of mine, comments about Germany in her Friday, June 26, letter to the editor. She states that “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.” In fact, it is part of German history school curriculum to take all German children to either Dachau or Auschwitz as a series of lessons about what their ancestors did and what must never happen again. Germany took down their statues of Hitler as did Poland and France and many other countries. They did this, not to negate their history or try and cover it up, but because Hitler did not deserve the honor that those statues confer. In his own writing, Hitler admired and followed the examples of the British and U.S. governments’ genocidal practices against the Native American Tribes.

Baranof is of the same ilk as Hitler, Columbus. Baranof not only does not deserve the honor that the statue confers, he deserves a Tlingit shaming pole. I was also shocked by the statement from Dr. Fred H. Everest in his Friday, June 26, letter to the editor when he states that “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.” He continues: “If Baranof is to be removed it must be put to a vote, not the whim of a few.” I think it interesting that Dr. Fred wants to put it to a vote after the Tlingit have been reduced to 10% by a reign of colonization and genocide.

Baranof didn’t bring democracy to Sitka, he brought horror. James Maddison said that the U.S. Constitution, without the Bill of Rights, is the perfect document for the tyranny of the majority. That is because the U.S. Constitution was written by and only for white men who owned property. Native Americans, African Americans, and women didn’t get the right to vote until the 20th Century. Native Americans weren’t even counted in the U.S. Census until 1934, they were instead counted as ‘‘wildlife’’ by the Department of Interior.

You don’t get to vote on the truth or fundamental human rights. G.L. Hammons’ use of euphemisms like revisionist or negationist obscures the truth. What is being and has been taught by the mere presence of the Baranof statue and its plaque is revisionist history because all the murder, rape and slavery of which Baranof was responsible, was revised to portay Baranof as a benevolent merchant. It is negationist history because it virtually erases the Tlingit and the Aleut from the mainstream historical narrative of Southeast Alaska. It is high time to end the European colonization of the Americas. It is high time to respect the original inhabitants of this place by taking back the original place names like they do in New Zealand and Hawaii. The Baranof statue was and is a mistake. At the very least we must relocate the Baranof statue to a museum where it can become a part of the whole historical record.

Chohla Moll, 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. 

 

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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

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

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.

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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