October 14, 2019, Letters to the Editor

Mourning Ceremony

Dear Editor: This Friday, Oct. 18, at 2 p.m., the Kik.sadi clan and other clans will offer a mourning ceremony at the base of Noow Tlein (known as Castle Hill) in Sitka. All are invited to this ceremony to mourn the cultural trauma caused by Russian and American invasion, colonization and forced assimilation. The event offers an alternative perspective to Alaska Day, which is celebrated in Sitka with a re-enactment of the Alaska Purchase transfer ceremony, and proposes a re-envisioning of the day as Reconciliation Day. 

For the past three years there has been a presence on Noow Tlein in opposition to the ceremony reenacting the transfer of Alaska from Russian to United States control. In 2016, a tribal citizen attended the reenactment with a sign reading, ‘‘Gunalchéesh Sheet’ka Kwaan for your care of Tlingit Aani for time immemorial.’’ Last year, others held signs with matching wording at the re-enactment as the mourning ceremony took place below (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP6RlMr32l0); the singing of the Kik.sadi was punctuated by gunshots from the American salute celebrating the purchase on the hill above – long a site of Kik.sadi clan houses. This ceremony acknowledges the land loss and cultural genocide ushered in by the illegal sale of a territory the Russians did not rightfully own. Further, the ceremony resists the perpetuation of historical trauma caused by Alaska day and proposes to rename this day Reconciliation Day. We propose that Reconciliation Day will be used as a thoughtful occasion for inclusive cultural awareness, historic reconciliation, acknowledging the cultural resiliency of Alaska Natives and the consideration of reparations.

In her Indigenous People’s Day speech this year, Dionne Brady-Howard explained that she does not celebrate Alaska Day “because (she) wouldn’t celebrate the anniversary of the day (her) home was robbed, or (her) identity was stolen.(...) It would truly be an awesome step in the right direction if more people could at least work to actively understand why some of us do not celebrate that day, rather than just dismissing it out-of-hand.”

If you would like more information about this event, please call Louise Brady at 907-738-1075 or email Simon Gorbaty at simongorbaty@gmail.com

The resolution states:

‘‘Be it resolved by the Legislature of the State of Alaska:

‘‘Whereas, the historic record clearly demonstrates that Alaska Native peoples have occupied this land for thousands of years;

‘‘Whereas, the historic record further demonstrates that “ownership” of Alaska was never transferred from Alaska Native peoples to the colonial Russian government;

‘‘Whereas, the historic record further demonstrates that the transfer of sovereignty between Russia and America was not accomplished with appropriate agreement by or even consultation with the rightful stewards of the land;

‘‘Whereas, the historic record further demonstrates that Russian and American colonialism and the resulting systemic oppression and discrimination of Alaska Native worldviews, epistemologies, and ways of life has caused severe disruption and trauma for Alaska Native people;

‘‘Whereas, the ‘Alaska Day’ transfer ceremony represents a celebration of colonialism by commemorating these wrongs through the re-enactment of a segregated event akin to what the Alaska Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 later disavowed;

‘‘Whereas, the Presbyterian church has issued an apology “to those who were and are part of ‘stolen generations’ during the Indian-assimilation movement, namely former students of Indian boarding schools, their families, and their communities.” Many international entities and state governments have issued similar apologies;

‘‘Be it resolved that ‘Alaska Day’ and the transfer ceremony in Sitka be renamed to Reconciliation Day. This day will be used as a thoughtful occasions for inclusive cultural awareness, historic reconciliation, and consideration of reparations;

‘‘Further resolved the State of Alaska, and specifically the city of Sitka establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the goal of promoting healing, educating, listening, and the preparation of a report with recommendations for the State of Alaska, and the city of Sitka.’’

Louise Brady and Simon Gorbaty



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At a Glance

(updated 3-14-2023)

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 12:15 pm Tuesday, March 14.

New cases as of Tuesday: 448

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 294,791

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,449

Case Rate per 100,000 – 61.60

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 46.90

Cases in last 7 days – 4

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,293

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






March 2003

Photo caption: Members of the newly formed Sitka Retail in Action Board have formed to promote  local businesses. The first event will be a street fair, “Spring Fever.” From left are Teri Egan, Kay McCarty,  Raphaelle Grangeon-Peters, Cathy Hanson, Bonnie Brenner, Joyce  Robertson and Tammy Thom.



March 1973

By calling Zenith 6000, Southeast Alaska residents now are able to contact Western Airlines reservations without charge to book flights anywhere in Western’s system. The service will continue until such time as the court case involving Southeast Alaska air service is settled.