2020 TOURIST SEASON – The 285-foot super yacht Lonian is tied up at the Old Sitka Dock Friday while its support vessel, the 217-foot Hoder equipped with a helicopter and ROV, is seen anchored in the distance. The 14-passender Lonian, which was launched in 2019, is owned by billionaire Lorenzo Fertitta, former owner of UFC. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

July 14, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Statue Resolution

Dear Editor:

K’ayéitl’i yóo xat duwasáakw. 

Ch’áak’ naax xát sitee. 

Teikweidée áyá xát

Shaanax hít áwé haa naakahídi. 

Sheet’káx’ yéi xat nawaat. 

Kiks.ádi yadix xát sitee

My name is Crystal Duncan; my Tlingit name is K’ayéitl’i. I am eagle brown bear from the Valley house in Angoon. I was born and raised in Sitka. I am a child of the raven frog clan, meaning my father’s roots are Kiks.ádi from Sheet’ká. 

Tonight our city Assembly will consider a resolution to relocate the Baranof statue from its current place of prominence. For many reasons, I am in favor and will advocate for its relocation; while that reasoning is grounded in history, it’s not specific to 1802, 1804, or even 1989 when the statue was gifted to the city and borough. 

1887: “The great aim of our legislation has been to do away with the tribal system and assimilate the Indian people in all respects with the other inhabitants of the Dominion as speedily as they are fit to change.” John A. McDonald

1892: “Kill the Indian, and save the man” Richard H. Pratt

1940(s): “No dogs or natives allowed” 

2013: “We’re better than that as a town. We shouldn’t be tearing (things) apart. We should be taking care of them.” Municipal Administrator (in reference to the statue)

2020: “When is this going to end? If you don’t like our town, there are other places that might make you happier.” Assembly member (in reference to a suggestion to move the statue)

These are examples of the messaging which affirms our place in society. Since the time of contact, a system was built by some (in truth white men), which utilized a toolkit of genocide, assimilation, and now status quo dominance over Alaska’s first people. The declaration “we are all equal” is inaccurate and we know this because of the extreme disparities in health, education, socioeconomic status, access and power.

I am writing because it is my responsibility to address how a statue, and the larger system, detract from progress. If there is work to be done, I’m here volunteering to help see it through. Will you join me? It will take a community effort and won’t be resolved simply when the statue is moved, but in time, as we begin to address both small and large issues, including our verbal and nonverbal messaging, we will reframe the level of respect we bestow upon each member of our community.

This is not an isolated effort by a few, there is support from STA, another governing body, local community and anti-racist organizations, along with a growing number of diverse individuals vested in helping our community to do better, because we now know better. 

I hope this evening our Assembly will take advantage of its opportunity to send a message to the community. Elizabeth Peratrovich said it well when she remarked, “You as legislators can assert to the world that you recognize the evil of the present situation and speak to your intent to help us overcome discrimination.”

Baranof has a home, that home is in a museum. In closing, it is time to “Retire the statue, so we can save and heal the community.” A gift to Sitka, if you will. 

Gunalchéesh,

Crystal Duncan, Sitka

 

 

Baranof Statue

Dear Editor: We are erasing a history. There has been lots of recent talk about removing the Baranof statue located outside Centennial Hall. To some, this statue represents the brutal legacy of a mass murderer who terrorized their ancestors. We can stop there. Does it really matter what the other side of the argument is after that sentence? 

A physical representation of a man who perpetrated horrific acts of violence against the ancestors of your neighbors, coworkers, teachers, and friends.

 As a social worker, I have learned and witnessed the astounding impact historical trauma has on the wellbeing and health of families, communities, and countries. Trauma is something I feel is often misunderstood. Trauma is not just one horrific event. Trauma is not just a whole bunch of horrific events. Trauma is the “Rosemary’s baby” that is born when a stressful, overwhelming event occurs and is then met by the brain’s many defenses to protect itself against the profound impact of the experienced horror. And just like Rosemary’s baby, trauma lives in the body of its host. Bessel van der Kolk, the leading researcher in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, says, “Trauma is not the story of something that happened back then, it’s the current imprint of that pain, horror and fear living inside people.”  

Flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares- these are all symptoms of trauma that make the person feel as if they are reliving the event or events. When a soldier with PTSD experiences flashbacks- he is not remembering the war, he is back in the war. Trauma must be processed to be healed. Splinters must be pulled out or else they fester. When trauma goes unprocessed, the negative mental and physical health impacts can often become hereditary. The effects of trauma are passed down generation to generation. Now you’ve got all the pain of a splinter, but you’ve never even touched the wood. 

Sitka, your neighbors are telling you where the splinters are. Your neighbors are asking you to allow them to feel included and considered. So yes, we are asking to erase history. Erase the history of the people of Sitka ignoring their Native brothers’ and sisters’ pain, acting as if time can erase horror. We are being asked to begin to take out the splinters.

Your neighbor and ally,

 

Alison Brazel, Sitka

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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:

 

On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-7-20)

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 11:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 53

Total statewide – 3,536

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (14 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 141.

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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20 YEARS AGO
August 2000

High prices for chum salmon, low pink returns, and record numbers of fish in Deep Inlet have turned the Sitka fishing grounds into Route 66 this summer. “Overall it’s been a fantastic season so far,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, operations manager for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

50 YEARS AGO
August 1970

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will head a gathering of Orthodox prelates from North American and abroad in ceremonies canonizing the first American Orthodox saints, Father Herman of Alaska. A group of Sitkans will fly to Kodiak for the event.

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