EXPECT DELAYS – Lines of traffic move slowly down Sawmill Creek Road today as a repaving project progresses near the Indian River bridge. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Sitka Tribe Calls for Relocating Statue

Sentinel Staff Writer

Sitka Tribe of Alaska tribal council passed a resolution Tuesday supporting the relocation of the Alexander Baranof statue to a museum.

The resolution states that STA’s general manager will work with the City and Borough of Sitka to relocate the statue and to commission a new monument that will “honor all of Sitka’s past, present, and future generations.”

The statue has a central and highly visible location in front of Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The STA resolution recognizes that Alexander Baranof is an important part of Sitka’s history, but emphasizes the pain Baranof caused indigenous peoples of Sitka and other parts of Alaska.

“It is well known that Alexander Baranof as director of the Russian-American Fur Company left an indelible mark on the history of Sitka,” the resolution reads. “However, it is also well known that much of this history involves Baranof directly overseeing enslavement of Tlingit and Aleut people to hunt fur mammals to near extinction; violation of Native women, families, and law; murder and theft of indigenous property  – often justified under a theory of racial and cultural superiority.”

Dionne Brady-Howard beats a drum as she leads a Tlingit song during a gathering in front of the Baranof statue recently. The group was calling for the relocation of the 1989 bronze statue of the 19th century Russian American Company figure. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

The resolution notes that the statue of Baranof does not, for many, represent a peaceful arrival of European people to the area.

“The violence dispensed by Baranof continues to ripple through time, with waves of historical trauma still causing pain for Native people this very day,” it says. “The Baranof statue’s prominence at a focal gathering spot in Sitka continues to incite divisions in our community.”

The resolution – and the push to remove and relocate the statue – comes at a time when many have been educating themselves on racism, imperialism, and colonialism.

“I’m glad people are doing more research,” Tribal Chairman KathyHope Erickson told the Sentinel.

Erickson said she’s glad to be working with the City on this issue.

“(It’s) really gratifying, pleasing, and a good opportunity to bring our two governments – the city government and the Tribal government – closer together,” she said.

In its current location, the statue is seen widely by not just Sitkans, but by visitors who likely know little about Sitka’s complex history.

“The placement at a center-point risks a wrong message to Sitka’s residents and visitors,” the STA resolution says. “The monument to Baranof continues to normalize a figure steeped in racial division, violence, and injustice.”

The resolution follows a citizen petition asking the Assembly to remove the statue, and a peaceful protest in front of Harrigan Centennial Hall in late June.

The monument was a gift to the city from Lloyd and Barbara Hames in 1989. Grandson Brian Hames said in a statement at the June 23 Assembly meeting that the decision to move it is not the family’s to make.

“This statue was a gift, and like any gift, whatever is ultimately done with it, is up to the recipient, the City of Sitka,” he said.








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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.

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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. 




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.

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.